Sunday, 4 February 2007

The Team and a Night out

If you've read the initial entries to this blog, then you'll know we had a sponsored event planned to raise money to take to the project in Asha, where we'll be helping a few weeks. The event was to built a few shelters and spend 18 hours together.
That was last weekend and the team built shelters and spent the night outdoors. I say the team built, not all the team built, but those who were able to get away from work put together 2 small shelters in the front garden of the church. (I was certainly too late and just added to the cardboard floors.) Here you see Jez in the frame of one of the shelters.

We all started gathering together just before 6pm on Friday evening and built a wonderful fire between the shelters, settling down to spend the night. Having had strong winds, plenty of rain and even snow in the preceding week, we didn't quite know what to expect. Any of those elements would have seen out cardboard and plastic tarpaulin shelters pulled apart. In the end all we had to face was a clear, cold night.

It was a good evening, although once we'd eaten by 8pm there was a moment of "we'll that's 2 hours done, now what will we do?"

Here are Richard and Michael ... and Val on the left.

Chris spent most of the time playing with the fire.

I don't have any great shots of the shelters. (Something to do with me typically accustomed to taking snaps of misty watery scenes...) Because Chris was so enamoured with the fire, the only pictures I have of the shelters include the fire and of course, Chris!

(Click on any of the images to see a larger image). So this is him again on the right, with the other shelter in the right.

Actually in many of the slum dwellings in India, there is not space for all to sleep at once, so apparently there is a concept of "hot bedding". If you know about a hot desk, you'll know the concept. We thought we'd just squeeze into our shelters, but in the end, 4 or 5 of the group slept outside, as our 2 shelters were quite small for 13.

Soon we settled into an evening of chatting and getting to know each other. Although all members of St.Stephen's, I didn't know any of the team and so this was an important evening for us.
Here are Alan, Barry and Libby. Libby is leading our trip. (Apologies to Barry for not getting a nice smiling shot)

I know it's a very short trip, but this will be a new experience for each of us in a different way and each member has slightly different concerns or thoughts. Not least of which is our lack Hindi and Urdu.

Here's another example. Just before out "camp-out", we heard that British Airways would be on strike the week we'd be flying and I'd certainly received alerts, advising to say if I was travelling that week, to change my plans. As this was not possible, we felt we had to hand over any worries we have and this week have heard the strike has been called off. All throughout the planning for this trip, I have been struck about how I should let go those concerns I have no control over and each possible block has been moved.

Now we have Sue, Andrew and Sam (our youngest team member).

Back to the night in our shelters. All through the night, we'll at least until about 1.00am, we had various visitors stop by and say hi and share a quick coffee. Some said it was warmer near our fire than anywhere else in the area, so I think we were cosy. I snuggled down around 1.30am. It's amazing how sounds are amplified at night. I was convinced the London night buses were going to roll over just near us, as they hurtled around the bend near the shelters. I suspect their "hurtling" wasn't fast at all, but at 3.00am it certainly sounded that way.

Some were up early, around 5am. (I finally moved before 7.00, must be boarding school training). I love that early morning. No-one awake and the streets empty - even the night bus has given up. I went for an early stroll and I posted these photos later.
This is Caroline on the left and me on the right.

I want to take photos while I am in India, but as I am more landscape than portrait photographer, will see how I fare there.

Once breakfast was over, we settled down to more fireside chatting and then tidying up and removing all signs of our presence. The last thing to do was a team shot just after midday, mission accomplished.