Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 21, 2016 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments


Grade X English class

“ What is the biggest problem facing your country?” ( Canada )

How would you have answered this question if you were engaged in a lively discussion with a Grade 10 class in rural India? Please, do tell, and I will give you my answer when I post Thursday Tidbits.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “ You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.” I’m not sure that I can draw a direct connection but I see something similar in India. The country is making giant strides economically but the government is very aware that the poor cannot be forgotten.

Last Friday, I spent another interesting and educational day in a small, rural Indian village. I travelled with colleagues from work to visit several sites where our group is doing field work. There is a concept in India called “ model villages.” With the Indian economy in transition, the government is trying to prevent small communities from getting lost in the shuffle. To that end, many towns and villages have been identified , where grassroots projects are being implemented. In many cases, the basics of life such as clean drinking water and proper sanitation, are top priorities. Partnerships are formed with government, the private sector and NGO’s , among others, in order to  empower local  people to take charge of their own destiny when the projects reach their conclusion.

I visited pre-schools, an elementary school and a high school. Our group also saw the new reverse osmosis water plant, the installation of solar street lights and a few of the 140 toilets under construction in villagers’ homes.

But it was in the schools where I felt most at home, having been a classroom teacher and principal in an earlier life. Of course, an aging , Caucasian from Canada is a curiosity so getting engaged with the students was hardly an issue. I had the distinct pleasure of spending about 20 minutes with a grade 10 class. I plan to go back there and spend a day. And yes, there were LOTS of selfies taken!

One more thing about the field visit. On our way home, we took a crossroads to pick up a colleague. It was quite densely forested. We came around a corner and there were a few monkeys on the side of the road. I have seen some before so this wasn’t that big a deal. But over the next 8 kilometers, there were thousands of them. I’m not exaggerating. I must find out why . Maybe they were looking for a cup of coffee too!

On Saturday, I was going about my business in the office ( they work 6 days a week and every other week, they get a two day respite ), when this distinguished looking woman was introduced to me. Caroline is a retired professor from the University of Vermont. She is here doing research on self help groups ( SHG’s ). We had a very spirited discussion, including her take on the U.S. election (!) and plan to get together ,as she plans to be here for several weeks. She thinks that she can find me a coffee maker,  in which case, I will immediately contact Rome and plead for sainthood.

Every day I learn something new. I was invited to attend a Satyanarayana Puja. It is a religious worship of the Hindu god, Vishnu. Satya means “truth” and Narayana means “ the highest being “ so Satyanarayana means “ the highest being who is an embodiment of truth.”  This was held at a private residence of some people I’ve met before. I took part in the worship which included the honor of receiving a red bindi on my forehead. This was followed by the most amazing assortment of Indian food… and a gift box of Indian sweets. I share most things in the office but I’m afraid that I will horde these!

And for those teachers out there, who may want to explore some post retirement options, I chatted at length with the owner of a private IB school. It is on the outskirts of the city, far from the pollution. Within a few years they expect to have several thousand students attend this brand new facility that opened last year. It will have everything,  including a 600 seat performing arts centre. They may start looking for foreign teachers in the near future. They will have a residence on campus for teachers from outside of the area, or indeed outside the country. I have been invited to come out for a day to share ideas and do a “ Canada class” including music from home. I’ll let you know what I observe in a future post.

Have a great week.

P.S. If you want to see history in the making, Google “ demonetization of the rupee in India.” ( or , putting the “demon in monetization”  ) It is a very chaotic place these days… and utterly fascinating. Donald Trump was page 14 news in the weekend papers, btw.








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3 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Carmen says:

    Nice read, Len!

    Won’t it be a wonderful day when tRump is page 14 in any of OUR newspapers. . . 🙁

    • Mary Jean Rogers says:

      It’s so nice that all you people who think alike stick together. Like the same things, dislike the same things. What beautiful harmony! I encourage you to keep people who have different viewpoints or raise touchy subjects from airing their comments so as not to offend the sensibilities of your readers. If you are reading this, Leonard, I applaud you for shutting me out. I realize you have hundreds of followers who make nice comments and that I, a few times, in response to something someone commented, relied with a different viewpoint. I appreciate your positive outlook and energy. I remember you as being a math whiz. I did think that you would be fairer in your judgements.

  2. LEO pURCELL says:



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