Tuesday, 2 June 2009


You know how I said in my last post that there was no wildlife in my house nowadays? Wrong! Discounting the little House Geckos which I've got quite used to, there've been two incidents with wild beasties in the last week. One, while I was talking on Skype to my mate Chris using headphones, involved the discovery of a monster millipede, 75mm long and pencil thickness, trekking up the cable towards my head! The other was also a millipede, found rapidly heading up the thigh of my trousers. With all those legs they're difficult to shake off, but I made bloody sure they were removed; they were certainly not going to share my body or my house!

The SISP kids had two weeks' holiday and then returned to a new school year. They get only two weeks' summer holiday unlike most other schools where two months is the norm. Experience has taught us that giving them more time off is counter productive - they all get jobs, even the very youngest, and then it's near impossible to drag them back again! The new term kicked off with prize-giving for the top performers. Prizes were just small things but the kids seemed chuffed enough. Positions were also found for our high achievers in mainstream schools so they were presented with new back packs, pencil cases, geometry sets, exercise books, pens, rulers, bottles, lunch boxes and uniforms. The kits of our existing mainstream students were also refreshed. They all return to SISP at the end of each day for tuition classes and for somewhere to do homework so I've been hearing how they've been getting on - mostly very well, thankfully.

You may have read in the papers about Cyclone Aila which swept up the eastern coast of India on the 25th May, killing between 150 and 200 people in Bangladesh and West Bengal, and making many homeless. It affected us here in the south-west too. A huge amount of rain fell in the night which, coupled with the high winds, did considerable damage. The house of one of our staff members completely collapsed around her but thankfully she and her two daughters survived unscathed. Another teacher's house developed gaping cracks and the walls bowed in so he had to make a hasty exit. More worrying was that some of the small boats from the nearby fishing village went missing at sea along with the fathers of some of our children. It was with great relief that we later heard that those fathers had survived, but unfortunately others had not.

It has been very humid recently. It was up around 80% in the daytime due to the rain and the Sun's intensity when it finally broke through the clouds. Termites have been very quick to take advantage of the moist soil by building what looked like miniature cooling towers of up to 30 cm height - little coloured works of art made from the local red soil. They were quickly knocked down by the rain but were rebuilt by the following morning.

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