Morning Rises

The morning rises again
faithfully each day
no questions asked – it comes with the rising of the sun
Who asks – Will it come?
Why? How?
It simply is.

IMG_6611-smallWould that I too
realise the pattern of the day
and follow that of ‘simply is’.
Rising in the morning
unconcerned by mists or clouds or clear skies
Simply rising.


Rat Compassion

Now I know I am really weird!!

I rescued a rat this morning.   Who does that?  What sort of person am I?

It happened that I was in a hotel in Mumbai close to Bandra Station. When you see the photos of the area around that station you will understand how easy it would be to have a rat visit your hotel bathroom during the night.  (I do have to tell you though my hotel was not in the street below.. and was quite nice!)Bandra station

I went to take my shower.. and there shaking and shivering in the bathroom bucket, nose just out of the two inches of water at the bottom was a small rat.  My first reaction was  – “eeewwwhhh a rat”.. but then I realised that is was alive and SO scared.

What to do.. at first I thought I would pour it out of the louvred window, but it clung bravely to the bottom of the bucket as I clumsily tipped it against the window.

Ok next strategy.  Pour most of the water into the toilet bowl without tipping the rat in as well.  Carefully… ahh that worked.  Now there is the big plastic toilet mug – perhaps I can manoeuvre the rat into that?  Yes! Managed it.  Now to the window and finally it scrambled out discovering its freedom through the dirty glass louvres.  It started its way up the wall outside but suddenly it was spotted by the crows!   Horror – about to be eaten after just being rescued.  Luckily for it there were bars surrounding the window – the crows could not reach their big vicious beaks inside and the rat raced to safety in the circular hole which should have contained the bathroom exhaust fan.

Still wet and shaking uncontrollably it huddled there.  Now my rat compassion was fully awake.  How to help it further?  Perhaps some food.  I poked a piece of biscuit into its safe space only to scare it further into a huddled mess.  Ok I had done my best .. I went to breakfast.  When I returned there it still was – but shaking less and beginning to dry out.

With my movement in the bathroom it galvanised itself back into action and raced away up the wall outside.

Oh I scratched my head.. what sort of a person rescues rats?


Shikshangram the day continues…

After a late lunch, Satish casually asks: “Would you like to go to Pune?”  “Actually” I said: “don’t you mean – you are the only driver available – would you mind taking me to Pune?”  We both had a laugh.. and sure its ok so at 4pm we leave and drive the crazy highway passing on the road a massive accident. A huge truck on its side – cab destroyed and on the other side of the road an ancient rusted out smaller one totally crumpled.  No way a driver could have survived that one.

I drive on with even more alertness.  Its needed on these roads.

Reaching Pune at 5 its a cacophony of sounds and traffic. We stop to change some money and meet Yogita and the other driver there at the chai stall.  IMG_6449-small

I am stared at as usual.. but have long since stopped being fazed by that – the tall elderly foreigner female and incredibly, the driver of that car!  Chai is good today.. lucky it wakes me up for the rest of the challenges ahead as the traffic on the last leg of the journey to the ‘hotel’ is a chaos of horns, motor bikes, scary squeezes through no space and needing to move lanes when there are no gaps to move into. But we made it.

So here I am – the window ledge on the second floor is the coolest spot by the peeled garlic, smeling the chappatis cooking through the open door, while the staff assemble tiffins (food containers) ready to be delivered to the regular paying customers.


Its 7 pm and I have no idea when we might take the journey home.

Surrender – let go – allow the intensity of the noise to simply wash over me. It is no time to be disturbed, but to gaze down at the crowds of motorcycles below and wonder at the lives of these people who manage to negotiate this world each and every day.


I consider myself fortunate  in our rural valley – with my biggest complaint being the barking of the dogs and sometimes the racket of the kids.

The noise of Pune is something else.  No earplugs would ever hope to reduce this avalanche of sound.

We reached home at 10 pm .. a long day – I fell into bed – tomorrow another event of unknown proportions!

medical kit

Shikshangram Days

Tonight writing is happening perched here in Pune on the window ledge upstairs at the ‘hotel’ (restaurant) next to the pile of garlic peelings.


These days I need to take any opportunity to write – the discipline of creating a specific schedule so easily gets lost in India.  With 120 kids almost outside my door, who love to peer over my shoulder any time I am on the computer, hoping for a glimpse of photos especially of themselves.

And who can use any excuse to come to my always open ‘clinic’ – cuts, scratches burn, sores, anything – ‘duketay’ (pain) is the cry.. Mam Mam – they love to sit on my mat on the floor with me – a bunch at a time all vying for the next piece of ‘putti’ (plaster), often a quick smear of papaya cream from the big red pot brought from Oz is enough to keep them happy and feel cared for.  Tiger Balm is another good stand by for any time they fall down and get a bruise or a sprain.

AnandAnand is a classic – always the total drama merchant – a hugely pained look on his face – “Mam koop duketay” (very painful) then as the papaya cream gets gently applied he is “Ahhh ahhhh” and dances about on one foot.  Only to run off happily two seconds later.

The variety of the days sometimes astounds me.

Waking at 5 this morning – I love that quiet time before the dawn and hopefully before the dogs begin their morning barking exercise.  My hour, time to first step outside my door and be always amazed at the depth of the stars.  A quiet time to sit in silence. And then – dawn breaking and the kids are waking.  Many interruptions can come then – plaster for sore toes needed befoe leaving for school, “Mam – press” borrowing my iron – this morning a surprise bucket of hot water for my bath – a bit of a bribe really because the kids took both my buckets from my bathroom!

What’s next?  Check my emails and a welcome Skype call with my sweet sister in Perth.  We share a virtual coffee. She is eating toast and home made marmalade – that sparks a culinary jealous moment.

But I head down to breakfast – a spicy concoction of beans sprinkled with coriander and lemon juice and the ubiquitous chai to follow.

Today the boys are continuing to construct the incinerator – a project that has been envisioned over 2 years ago and finally is taking shape.  incineratorI take photos and post on Facebook so everyone who donated for this can see our progress.

weldingAnd now its time to go to the next town Kamshet – to collect the welding for the incinerator.  That takes us almost two hours – nothing is speedy here.  Its after midday but there is little sign of lunch so I opt for a half hour sleep.  Luckily as the rest of the day unfolds to much more than I imagined.

to be continued…..


After the storm

Storm clouds gathered, the winds picked up and then the rains battered the windows of my soul.  Release came with the emotional rains – an outpouring that was delivered to those I felt may hear me.  And they did.. and the energy began to reverse and flow back toward me …

This week has been a special one for me.  I found a place in myself where I could no longer hold back and allowed myself to say what was in my heart and in the pain that I was going through.  The results for me have been almost overwhelming.  I felt from so many, so much support care and love .. it affirmed deeply my being.. not only what I am doing but also who I am here.  It affirmed that whatever I do .. on whatever track I place my feet that when I am true in myself .. open and honest – I have friends in many corners of the world.

Some were able to give support in a financial way – that was so very welcome – some wrote heartfelt notes to me – and some simply sent me energy in a way I could feel without any actual connection.  The wave of energy lifted me up – and sent a fire through my actions.

Everything shifted direction and moved.

As a result – our water supply is back on track at the kids shelter, we f inally have built the incinerator for the rubbish and to make hot water.

the incinerator

Some contractors  we owed money to were repaid, some staff received some welcome back pay – we have new taps, we have a good pump, and now we have also a repaired borewell pump.  I can go on with all the things that have been done and started and actioned this week.. but just really need to say that the floodgates opened and everything shifted.  One of our supporters has even started a CrowdFunder for the Shelter and our work here.. this is the  link  if you would like to help out.

So thanks to you my friends.  You cannot really imagine how special this week has been to me.. feeling your love across the winds .. and knowing that people care about me and us!

Oh and my mind isn’t turning on at 4 in the morning any more!  YES!