I arrived in Kochi on Sunday, May 29 in the evening without a hitch, then sailed through immigration which has been simplified with the new eTV (Electronic Tourist Visa) which began just before my last visit. I picked up some kind of traveller’s bug along the way so felt somewhat unwell for the first week. However, it didn’t stop me getting right into things.
The Monday and Tuesday, the last two days of May, were preparation for the startup of school. The morning was organised activities for the staff followed by preparation time for the duration of the day. The staff enjoyed some fun “initiatives” to support team building and inquiry learning followed by professional development on activity-based learning. You can see the staff having fun working together in the picture. Sarah Simpson is looking on. She is from New Zealand and working at Rehoboth full time.
The first day of school was Wednesday, June 1st. I was a part of the opening assembly and you can see the kids in the top picture. The younger children have 200 school days, but the Grade 6 and 7 children have 220 school days now. That means having a short day of school on Saturdays twice a month. Starting on Saturday I began teaching one General Knowledge and one Spoken English class to each grade. The topic for the Grade 6 and 7 was Global Warming, something very pertinent right now in India. India recorded a record 51 degrees Celsius on May 19th in Rajasthan. Interesting there was a pertinent story from Kerala last week about the Vechur “dwarf” cow which is the smallest cow in the world but is able to withstand very high temperatures. Take a look at the article in The Telegraph if you’re interested. Temperatures in Kerala were very high in May. Thankfully the rains have come and the temperature at night drops down as low as 24 degrees and daytime temperatures have been in the low 30’s but with high humidity.
On Sunday, I preached twice, first at the English service at the East Fort Assembly and then at the Hindi service at the Mundoor Assembly. I always the enjoy the spirited worship with drums at the Hindi service. Brother Johnston is one of the owners of Ebenezer Printing Press and they have reached out to migrant workers from the North of India. His nephew Gladwin was married to Jini today and we enjoyed a most amazing feast after the ceremony. Also today, we enjoyed a wonderful evening reception and meal for Jeffan and Joyice provided by Joyice’s father Johnny for the whole orphanage celebrating his daughter’s marriage. Joyice spent a whole year in 2012 working at the orphanage and school and is loved by the girls. You can see them in the picture below along with all the girls and the college students. Phyllis Treasure, affectionately known as “Mummy” to everyone, is in the picture too.
I met Sunny Chetan soon after I arrived. If you remember he had brain surgery last July for a tumor removal while I was visiting Rehoboth. He has made a remarkable recovery all things considered, but please pray for his continued healing. He struggles with pain and other effects of the surgery still. He puts in about half a day of work at the moment. He’s a key part of the day-to-day administration along with brother Babu.
To end, I’ve added a video that I took of a Goldenback Woodpecker. I can’t believe how close I was able to get, but being a very young one is probably why it didn’t fly off. He is sitting on a very large jackfruit and pecking at it. Turn on your sound to hear the very shrill and raucous call it makes. The workers in the background are discussing in Malayalam whether I’m going to catch it apparently! No…. just on film for all you fellow bird lovers.