We visited Beemapalli today to buy clothes for SISP's children. This is the place to go if you want a bargain of any sort. I was told prices were cheap because of the tourists, but I didn't see a single white face so maybe it's just the volume of business they do - it certainly was heaving! The commercial rents are likely to be low too, because of the poor condition of the roads (flooded in parts - it's a very low lying area) and because it's under Trivandrum Airport's flightpath. As well as the bargains, it's famous for its huge pink mosque.
The boys were getting "pants" or shirts, while the girls were getting a dress or a skirt and top. The budget was under £4 per child (Rs.300), and this is to be their Christmas present from the school. Most of the kids wear second-hand cast-offs which volunteers bring with them so getting something new is a bit special. A few of the kids who come to school bare-footed will also receive "chappals" (sandals). While waiting with the bus, one of the children asked me how much my sandals cost. Well, they're Merrell Kahunas, costing £54, or about Rs.4000. Sobering to think that for the same money I could have kitted out 30 or 40 kids with perfectly decent footwear.