Monday Morning Musings

Posted on January 16, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

Fishing boats at Kovalem, India

One never knows when they’re going to have to dust off an old skill set and put it to use.

Those who have been following my posts from Kanyakumari know that,  besides their charitable works, the Sisters also operate a Bed and Breakfast. The net proceeds are used to support their homes for the aged, orphanages etc. My new Irish friends, Ninian and Carol have done a splendid job getting the B@B up and running. They are volunteering  here for 6 months.

Regrettably, there was a death in Carol’s family and she had to fly back to Ireland to attend the funeral. While she was away, Ninian was carrying the full work load. I volunteered to help out. Despite Ninian’s claim that I’m a slow learner ( his grade for me was a B minus! ), I agreed to cover for three days while he ventured off to meet Carol on her return from Ireland, at Thiruvanathapuram , some three hours away. They planned to spend the weekend there for a much needed respite as they have been on duty 24/7 since arriving two months ago.

Back in the early 70’s, my mom managed the Claymore Motel. I was a student at St.F.X at the time ( I use the term “student” loosely! )  and I had a part time job as a front desk clerk. I really enjoyed the work and despite the odd cranky customer, I found most of the guests pleasant and fun to chat with. So when I was asked to fill in at the B@B, I had no hesitation in saying yes. Talking with travellers is so interesting and informative. With only one strong internet connection,  located  outside of the office, I spent countless hours shooting the breeze with some really fine folks.

One thing that is so striking and noticeable in India is the language barrier. I have a whole new appreciation for people who don’t speak English. I am thinking specifically here of our new Syrian neighbors. To be very smart and not being able to understand a word that people are saying all around you, must be enormously frustrating. And with guests from all over the world, basic communication is never straight forward. But one thing I’ve noticed that if you’re patient and smile a lot… and use hand gestures, it’s amazing how much information gets processed.

It would appear that you are enjoying a few new features. I received a huge response to the video regarding the purchase of the wheel chairs for the leprosy colony. If you’re not on FB, find someone who is and check it out. Or e-mail me, and I’ll send it to you. I also posted my first podcast last week and there is now a tab on my website ( www.week45.com ) called “podcasts” which will archive all future podcasts. These are longer pieces requiring a bit more time to digest.

 A quick follow up to the music theme from last week’s Monday Morning Musings. A few nights ago, some guests of ours invited us to meet some friends that were staying at another hotel a short distance away. Among the party were two lovely ladies from Ireland, Pauline and Patricia. Before uttering a word to them, I sang “ When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” right in the hotel lobby. I wish I had a camera to capture the look of surprise on their faces. They chimed right in and a lively discussion ensued. Music is universal.

I am getting to know more and more about the Sisters. I was very surprised to learn that they have a small farm next door to the B@B. There is a wall separating the convent and the farm and because my room is not facing in that direction, I had no idea that the farm existed. They have cows, pigs and chickens and on another parcel of land they grow their own vegetables and herbs.

They use the eggs, milk and vegetables at the convent for themselves and the staff ( who they feed and house ). The pigs are a different story. When they are sufficiently fattened, they are sold and the proceeds go for medicine and medical supplies for their charitable facilities. At one point in time they were able to handle 100 pigs but they have been having problems with the pig waste storage tank and have had to severely curtail activities lately. I have asked the Sisters to bring in an engineer to see what needs to be done and the approximate cost. I am hoping that this is a project that we can support.

And one more thing. Where garbage disposal is such a major problem in India, the Sisters are way ahead of the curve. All food waste is fed to the pigs; they recycle all of the plastic water bottles that guests leave in their room and they bury most of the remaining garbage. While the latter is not a perfect solution, it is better than having it strewn on the sidewalk to be burned.

I always enjoy hearing from you. I don’t respond to every “like” and comment but I read them all. I am hoping to gear up the fundraising effort soon. As I’ve said before, the Sisters are the real deal and I know that every penny that is given, will get into the right hands.

Have a great week.

P.S. I have been invited as a guest panelist at a discussion on India’s demonetization at St. Xavier College in Palayamkottai ( Yes. The same St. Francis Xavier ) this Friday , the  20th. A leading expert on the subject from India is the keynote speaker. They are interested in getting a foreigner’s perspective. This should be very interesting.

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Comments

2 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Mary Gillis says:

    Interesting as always!

  2. Bernice Smith says:

    I so look forward to your updates from India, Len. You’re bringing the world and how they function to us in a funny, informative way. Keep it up.

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