Monday, October 3

trip to kerala (part four)

During at last day in Kerala, we traveled to a cashew factory in a more rural area to see where Whole Foods sources their cashews sold in the bulk area of their stores. We were blown away by the clean and safe conditions at the factory and the benefits (A PENSION! VACATION! TRANSPORTATION!) that the workers receive. After seeing the very lengthy process the cashews undergo before hitting the shelves, I now understand why they're one of the most expensive nuts to buy. After sampling more than a few cashews...
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...we headed to a beautiful hotel for lunch and then, surprise! a backwater river cruise, something Kerala is very famous for.

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Finally, I departed back to Chennai and eventually back to my little village. It was emotional, saying goodbye to my new friends, they all inspired me in ways I didn't even think were possible. I came out of the trip feeling like I could conquer anything and completely proud and confident in the work I have been doing here and excited for the future which will most definitely include some service related career.

Of course this trip wouldn't be complete, though, without a small traveling disaster. After being stopped on the train tracks for two hours (en route back to the orphanage), I was informed there was a "crack" in the tracks and the train wouldn't be moving for a while. I called the nuns and after passing my phone around the train, we figured out I was actually not far from "home." So the nuns told me to get off the train and they'd come pick me up. Problem: we were at a train station, sure, but I had to actually climb down onto the tracks and then hoist myself up to the platform to exit. Of course mid hoist, I hear the sound of another train coming and quickly and throw my extra large backpack over the platform and thankfully get myself up safely. Soon after, the nuns came, but this train station was so small and nuggety that there wasn't really a place to drive up, so they had parked down the road and to get to the car, we had to walk, again, on the tracks. As we were reaching the road, again, we heard a train coming. So two nuns, myself, my gigantic backpack and Pauly, have to sprint across the tracks in order to save ourselves. Never a dull moment, I'm telling you.

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The kids are currently on a two week long break, so I'm back in travel-mode. Before I left, I graded my 5th graders (yes, they are my favorites...) test grades and AGAIN we had another improvement: from the last test, seven outstanding scores to 11 from this test! So i was pleased to be leaving on that note.

I've spent the past few days shopping my heart out in Chennai, finishing up all of my Christmas shopping, making a few new Indian friends along the way and just enjoying a true, big Indian city. This afternoon, I'm headed to meet Barbara and some others to travel through various cities in the north including...dun da da dunnn... THE TAJ MAHAL! Stay tuned and as always, thanks for reading! Namaste

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