OK guys. Not sure how many are catching up on our activities in Delhi but we started in earnest today with a 6.45 call to be ready for the off from the Blue Triangle at 9 and our first day in Trilokpuri. The day was fine with clear skies and sunshine, the thunder and rain of yesterday evening long gone. Bimal was waitig for us in the minibus to drive across the River Yumana to our initial meeting with the Asha team at Trilokpuri and a look at the task we have taken on. We had a fantastic welcome - I've never been given a garland or had rose petals thrown over me before! The slum itself is one of the better ones as it has been established so long with Asha having worked there for 20 years. Some of the staff have been there almost as long and the community is well developed, the women confident and able to manage their lives and bring improvements to the community overall. They have a well organised health network with the 'lane volunteers' each with their medical box which they were very proud to show us. The two women's organsiations have also become well established ands run their own affairs with very well written accounts!
We met children from a range of ages. Some are in the last stage of school and working for their final exams with hopes of going on to college. Asha staff help them with their applications and also in their studies. It was amazing to see the writing and the maths that some were doing - they were keen to show us their books and how neat their work was. Chris Grady managed to involve a number in an impromtu gane of mini indoor cricket, much to the boys delight. The posters we made were a big hit and we were able to spend a few minutes on each explaining the piece of London we had brought to show them. They have a computer room where the posters will be displayed. We saw the boys in the morning as the girls go to school then ( I wonder why??) and the boys go in the afternoon. We found, after the understandable initial uncertainty, they were very willing to talk and quite a number spoke a reasonable level of English so we were able to communciate fairly well.
After lunch we got on with the painting. The basic background work had been done so we were able to start straight away on murals - jungle scene in the larger room and undersea in another. Work progressed pretty well, interrupted by groups of girls popping in and an impromtu display of dancing and singing - by them i should add. The girls were full of life and chatter. Some of our team went out for a while to visit people in the slum whilst others ploughed on with the painting. More tomorrow and another room to paint - amazing how the project changes so rapidly and we have to amend the plans! We packed up shortly after 5 and headed back to the YWCA for a welcome shower and then out for a meal in Connaught Place. A great curry. Came back in tuck tucks after some hard bargaining to get a reasonable price. The place was still heaving and such a mix of indian and western it is a lot to take in. We continue all well and look forward to tomorrow's challenges - cricket outdoors and craft (thanks Debs - the snakes will be great) as well as more painting and visiting so there's plenty to keep us occupied.
Bedtime now here so good nght and God bless.
Maggie and the team