A belated Merry Christmas from the Pitchandikulam Forest! Too much activity and not enough time to blog. We have been Kris Kringaling in Pondicherry, sharing time with friends over a delicious Christmas breakfast and getting stuck into some project work over the last few days.
A highlight was Saturday’s teacher training session out i Kadapakkam where we learnt about the Coromandel Coast and started visioning the programs that will operate out of the newly build Coastal Environmental Education Centre. It was a sobering day being on the same coast which was affected by the 2004 tsunami on the 5th anniversary of this tragedy. Despite this, the teachers and women’s group facilitators we worked with were sparking with enthusiasm and have got some great visions of what is possible for this place. Women’s Self Help Groups, fisher people, school groups and surrounding villagers will be engaged through the programs that are being designed here. The Centre is in an amazing location, surrounded by diverse ecosystems and some very real and present human pressures coming into play. We spent the day exploring the nearby beach and found an abundance of washed up sea life and modelled hands-on coastal education activities. Pitchandikulam Forest is driving this project and is keen to link with funding bodies to make the dream come alive – let us know if you can help and want to see a funding proposal.
Another highlight was last night’s trip into Pondicherry with the crew from Pitchandikulam to watch the latest smas hit Tamil film, Hero, staring none other than ‘Vijay’. It was quite the experience – HUGE screen, blarring sound and 3 hours of song, dance, comedy and romance.
Over the next week we’ll be scoping out potential projects for the next 12 months (keep an eye out for volunteer project briefs) and will head south to Madurai to visit our friend Muthu who works with medicinal plants and social enterprises. There are so may possibilities for project work, we are excited at the opportunities presenting themselves for next year’s visit and the months in-between. Until next time, bye!