Tuesday, April 30, 2013


It’s great to be back here at the orphanage – the kids have all grown up a lot in the last 3 years and many of the older ones have spread their wings and moved away, either working or going on to further study. It’s like we never left and most of the names and even Hindi phrases have returned to us quite easily.

The day starts with a 6:45 breakfast, taken with everyone in the main dining room, then work starts after  7:30am and knock-off is at 5:30 – there’s a fair few breaks in the day which is good since the temperature is hovering around 38 degrees most days.

The new school being built here is almost completed, and my brother Ash and I have been spending our days working on the security system as well as some manual labour preparing the bathrooms for plumbing and tiling. Miriam has been working in the office and in the kitchen, assisting in the preparation of meals.

The biggest changes from our perspective is the number of western volunteers here at the moment – far more than we experienced before with 2 families (with kids) staying for at least a year and also 3 others from Australia (excluding us) on short term visits.The evening meal is taken with the Shipway family, single staff members and volunteers making it a very full room at dinner. The other big change
is the quality of the meals here – when we were here last it was primarily vegetarian and quite bland, but there has been a concerted effort to lift the standard of meals and the children now receive 2 meat meals a week, more fruit and the flavours and variety has improved also.

Friday, April 26, 2013

R & R

From Melbourne we headed to Phuket for a bit of R & R, much needed after our hectic last 2 months.

After staying two nights in Karon, we escaped to a quieter spot at the top of a hill for the remaining 6 nights.  It’s amazing how fast time can fly, reading a book or looking out at beautiful tropical, coastal views from your infinity pool and restaurant...  Just what the doctor ordered.

Half a day was spent in Patong (way too much time for Miriam), and Brad escaped the pool 1 day for a fishing charter (not a great deal was caught, but many interesting characters met).

We met Brad’s brother Ash in Singapore and spent 1 ½ days sightseeing his chosen top sites, Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, Hawkers Centres, Marina Bay Sands, S.E.A. Aquarium.

We arrived in India late Sunday evening.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Family, Farming, Fishing & Friends

To those faithful enough to keep watch on this blog for signs of life – here’s what we’ve been up to so far:

The day after finishing up at our jobs, we set off to Mt Gambier to catch up with family before leaving the country for an unspecified amount of time. Miriam’s dad, Peter, had us working hard from day one and we inexpertly assisted in taking down and rebuilding a 300m line of fencing. This involved Brad getting behind the wheel of a couple of tractors and the handlebars of a motorbike (to herd cattle). After Peter had made us work for our keep, Brad’s family got us to chop and cart about 4 ton of firewood – talk about child labour!

Easter was spent with both families, with all our siblings coming down from Adelaide as well. After this we spent some time with Brad’s family with a few days fishing at Nelson, Victoria. Miriam was ecstatic to learn that the boat could only hold 4 and courageously opted to spend her days reading in the sun, back at the cabin.

We were then off to Melbourne to catch up with Julie and family, with Miriam gaining a “shadow” in the form of a doting 3 year old named Annabelle. Our last day in Australia (for some time) was spent having a BBQ on the banks of the Yarra in superb weather and even better company.

We’re soaking up the sunshine (and the rain) in Phuket currently - but we’ll write about that later. On Friday we head to Singapore, then we're off to India.