My Date with Chinnur Village – By LK
It was Oct 17th 2014 (Friday), 5.00 PM and the news channels broadcasted that there was a heavy depression in Bay of Bengal and it was going to rain for the next 2 days. I looked out of the window and surprisingly the forecast was right, it was raining quite heavily. I repeatedly called Bhaskar to check whether the condition in Theni is any better and will there be any issue travelling there that week. And Bhaskar in-turn was checking the condition and answering me quite patiently and made me feel quite safe to go-ahead with this travel as planned.
So I was prepared for this one day trip to Chinnur Colony with a lot of excitement. I was told that we will have to go by a vehicle till the foothills and then have a 9 kms walk along the hills passing through a few rivers on the way to reach this place. Now you would know why I was excited about this! 🙂
I reached Koyambedu bus stand at 9PM passing through the abnormal traffic buildup due to the rain. Shortly I had Bhaskar, Dilip and Surendar joining me and we happily settled down in the sleeper bus that we had booked for this trip. It was a very comfortable place to be in after standing in the Koyambedu bus stand amidst the heavy rain (Folks in Chennai will know what I meant here :)). In no time all of us were asleep with the excitement still at its peak over the next day’s adventure that awaited us.
We woke up the next day to witness the bus passing through some of the beautiful landscapes far away from the traffic, heat and pollution. It was a very pleasant morning with a light drizzle and we were very thankful that it was only a light drizzle and not heavy rain as mentioned in news channels.
We had Mr. Pandi kannan who is a relative of Dilip and is from the Police Department to receive us at the Theni bus stop and had a room booked for us to refresh and get ready for the exciting day ahead. He was very helpful and without him this trip wouldn’t have been possible.
We started our journey towards the foothill loaded with some food in our backpack. We were accompanied by Mr. Pandi kannan’s colleague, Mr. Pandi Kannan and the head master of a school which teaches students from these tribal villages.
We reached the foothill and had all our ammunitions loaded for the trip ahead. We had the villagers to help us reach the destination and also to help us carry all the clothing we brought for the villagers and kids of Chinnur Colony. We felt that the nature around us was literally speaking to us and it made me think that we are missing a lot of happiness in our life by staying away from the beautiful nature that the god has created for us to enjoy and live.
We started with a very brisk walk passing through various landscapes in this stretch of 9 kms with the help of the kind villagers. It was a plain slope to start with and we felt that as we advanced it was really getting tough and tired. We had to pass through a plain stretch and then some hilly terrain and then two rivers which had a lot of water flowing dangerously.
The calm plain terrain was a treat to walk past and we really enjoyed that stretch.
The villagers formed a human chain to help us pass through the rivers on the way. The flow was quite heavy and there was no way we could have reached the destination without the help of the villagers.
We were also seen crawling at different places which the villagers passed through at ease. We felt that we were climbing the Himalayas for the first time in the world 🙂
After all the heroics and two packets of Glucose on our way 🙂 we reached the final destination (Chinnur Colony) feeling grateful about the fact that we were able to reach the destination and still had the energy for rest of the day! As a matter of fact we will have to again climb down to reach back home and should be done on the same day. By the time we reached the village it was 2PM (we took 5 hrs to cover that 9 kms stretch)!
The villagers were all gathered with a lot of questions in their eyes. We were offered the hill coffee as they call it which was a black coffee which they cultivate in this area. I have never had such a coffee in my lifetime. It was so tasty and I almost asked them for a few packets to take back home. It gave us a lot more energy than what we got in the two packets of Glucose 🙂
We started explaining about Aalayam Foundation and how we can help their children get educated. We distributed the clothes that we took with us which brought a lot of smile in their faces. It was a learning for us interms of understanding how people are living without even having their basic need fulfilled. The problems that they explained was beyond giving education to their children. They have to pass through the terrain that I just explained for fulfilling any basic need which includes the raw materials for their daily food. They climb up and down this hill for an average of 3 times a day for their livelihood. For them to think about education looks like a distant ask.
We proposed some ideas to overcome their basic issues and have their children educated. Mr. Pandi kannan and the school headmaster Mr. Vijayaraj are doing a commendable job to make sure that the children from this place are getting their basic education. We shared our willingness to offer any help which would help the children from this area to get their education.
As a part of it we have taken up a project to help get the school where these children are studying solar based electricity at a small level to start with. The school is without electricity as of today and it is a residential government school for Tribal children. This is under review currently and we will raise funds for this project once it gets approved. We are also reviewing a student from a nearby village to raise fund for his college education currently. Both these causes are in review and we are having a lot of children in line who would need our help to complete their education. Aalayam along with all of you is looking forward for this opportunity to help provide education for these children and help them realize their dreams.
Once I reached back home I was dead tired for the next two days and my heart was with those children and people who are travelling that route on a daily basis multiple times. I thanked God for all that I have in my life considering what those people were going through and it gave us (Aalayam) more reason to explore more areas where we can be of some help to our fellow Indians and make this nation march forward!
Signing off with these group photos which would remain in our thoughts for the days to come!