11 February 2005

Although the children at Udayan wake at 5:00 am, it was 6:30 before they found where we were sleeping and woke us up with cries of ‘Good morning!’. We had breakfast, and then played with the children before finishing setting up the computers.

Dodds and some Udayan boys

Shortly after breakfast, Mrs Weldon arrived, and we set off with 4 of the children to a leper colony on the outskirts of Kolkata. The children were going to see their parents – around 25 children come from the same leper colony that we visited. All of the people living in the colony have all been cured of leprosy through the use of modern medicines. However the scars of the disease still remain; many have lost the use of their fingers and even hands in more severe cases. All of the parents received us with warmth, and were happy to invite us into their small houses, obviously proud of their children and their home.

The leper colony

Mrs Weldon at the leper colony

On returning to Udayan, the children had recreational time, and so we joined in with a game of cricket and football, although they were vastly better at cricket than us. They were fascinated with us playing cards, having never seen any English cards before. The children had been shy yesterday, but today they were bubbling with confidence and had great amusement at our attempts to sing the Indian songs they tried to teach us.

In the evening, James Stevens arrived with his wife and brother, and the children of Udayan put on some entertainment. We had also taken time to prepare some acts, with Jenny coordinating some gymnastics, Natalie and Sinead singing and us all taking part in a balancing pyramid. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and went straight to bed, all exhausted from our two days at Udayan.

Udayan boys performing gymnastics

We apologise for the lack of pictures yesterday: we had some technical problems at Udayan.


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