Dear St Oswald’s primary school, how lovely that you have snow in London! In Chembakolli the weather is moderate. Although it is the end of our winter at the moment, it is never as cold as London.Thankyou for inquiring about our school. We don’t really have distinctions between junior and higher classes in our school. Since there are only 150 children we use just one building for everyone.
How exciting that you sang in front of so many people. Although we don’t have a choir in our school we spend a lot of time singing. In fact, very often our day begins with singing. Traditionally we would sing along with a thudi (a traditional drum) and a Cheenum (a traditional flute). Here is a photograph of the two. In the villages as soon as poeple heard the sound of music they would gather to sing and dance together. However these days, since everyone is busy going to work and school, people gather less frequently.
Dear Turnham primary School, although the weather in chembakolli is quite lovely there are parts of India where it gets very cold. Here is a picture of the snow in Mussori in North India.
In western India, in the desserts of Rajasthan, the nights are freezing cold too. Unlike in London, very few people here use electrical heating or radiators. And so, in small villages, people sit huddled together around a fire to keep warm.
Great to hear about your experiments with quails. Infact quail is a delicacy in many of the small restaurants in Gudalur town, where our school is. It is called ‘kada’ locally and often fried with spices and eaten with onions and a slice of lemon.
We’ve been keeping quite busy lately. Last week we visited some of the villages and spoke to people about the ways in which their lives and lifestyles have been changing over the years.We heard a very interesting story which we would like to share with you….
Vasu, from the Paniya tribe told us that traditionally houses were built out of material that was available in the forest. Groups of men would bring back bamboo and dried grass to build their homes. The floors used to be leveled with mud and water and dried cow dung was spread around the house to disinfect the area.Everyone is the village has identical houses. No ones house would appear bigger or better than any other.When a person in the village needed to build or repair their house, everyone would come together to help them. One didn’t even have to ask for help since people would simply land up at the work site ready to lend a helping hand. They did not receive any money to compensate for the time they spent. This was the way in which the community lived together.
However, today the old homes have been replaced with cement houses made with bricks which are then plastered and painted. None of this material- bricks, cement, paint etc can be sourced locally. All of it needs to be bought for money from the market place. Laborers need to be paid a wage to build houses and our neighbors are no longer able to help us. The adivasi ideals of generosity, sharing and sustainability have been replaced. What do you feel about this?
Until next time….goodbye!