Back to Bless School

Despite showing me at my less-than-attractive best, I think this short video catches the spirit of the day: some slightly bemused (ME), ever gracious (them):

Instead of teaching students in random classes, I asked this year to work exclusively with the teachers, 12 young women from nearby villages. They teach children, also from surrounding villages, who are between 3 and 10 years. I decided to teach them some Poetry (my term!) -writing. Mostly, we did Formulaic, or Pattern Poems: acrostic, catalogue (saving ourselves for the Cinquain and the Haiku…maybe next year). Image We posed with Senthil, Director of Bless School. Ananda Ashram supports the school, and Senthil also oversees day-to-day (and month-to-month, in terms of finances) life at the ashram. He has more than once come patiently to my rescue: innumerable bus,taxi, and Inter-India plane Q&A sessions;nearly-instant cell phone re-charging: 500 Rupees, about $9.00, gets me through nearly a month; expert slip-bolt repair: one night during the pitch black of an electrical cut,I somehow slipped out the bolt,irreparably, it seemed to me. That was the night I used duct tape on my hut door (against those night critters).

Relieved to be shaded from the mid-morning sun, we got to work right away in the outdoor classroom.


If laughing with (at?) the teacher is a gauge of success, we had some!

Someone snapped this photo of one of our finished products…

And after a morning of class, lunch!

Back to Ananda

Eventually, you slow down at the ashram, but for me, at least, it’s not really by choice. For example —
I spent the better part of my second day here running – no, that’s a lie; in 90-plus weather, only the cattle run, and that’s only because the cowboys-on-bikees prod and shout.

(-Note to Self: INSERT video when a computer appears with the capability of showing the cattle movement a few dozen meters from the hut )

Back to my “Running” theme: I had found fresh bat droppings in my room the first evening after dinner. I kept vigil throughout the night, hearing all manner of sounds,mostly scratching (geckos) and scurrying (spiders? the odd piece of paper?).

At breakfast the next morning, the Naturalist in our crew, familiar with my various phobia of two years ago (mainly, non-existent rats) came to have a look. RESULT: Geckos, 3; Bats, 0.


Sister Shirley is still here, still possessing her perennial smile, which belies the rigorous life the Camaldolese sisters, brothers, and priests live at the ashram.


And I’m here, too – at last!


One of the great delights of this place is [entirely unsolicited] Room Service:colder-than-lukewarm afternoon juice.
Afternoon room service