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India 2007 | St Joan of Arc - Udayan

Goodnight from India

Our last day in India was peaceful and inspirational, giving us a chance to reflect on our wonderful journey. We met Brother Gaston at his Ashram out in the beautiful Bengali countryside where mentally challenged women and orphaned children are given a sense of equality and a chance to build their own lives.

Gaston gave us a guided tour, displaying his work and visions for the future. For example we were shown the multi-faith prayer room which facilitates all religions.

Brother Gaston’s Ashram is self-sufficient growing hundreds of vegetables and bananas. We then had a discussion with Gaston where we were able to ask questions and hear his wise words. His determination and love for God inspired us to ponder and strengthen our faith in God. In Gaston’s words he said “you cannot love God without serving your fellow man and all people are your brothers and sisters”. Unexpectedly we were given a substantial meal which was enjoyed by all.

We returned to the Fairlawn in late afternoon having an opportunity for last minute shopping and a rest before our journey home.

We would firstly like to thank our readers and people who have posted comments whilst we have been in India. Your efforts have highly motivated us and kept us going through what has been an emotional pilgrimage.

Secondly we would like to thank Trish, Caroline and Kathryn for making this trip happen and guiding us through this amazing journey. We hope they have enjoyed our company as much as we have enjoyed theirs.

If we were to say one thing about this trip it has been a truly life-changing experience for all of us.

We hope you have enjoyed following our journey and continue to support Udayan in the future. From all of us here in India Goodnight and God bless.

To read the full article and to see / make comments click here

Trekking through the Sundarbans

Trekking through the Sundarbans

19 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Over the past three days we have travelled, mainly by boat, around the Sundarbans which is a world heritage site and the home of about 250 tigers. The islands are located off the West Bengal bay. We have experienced extreme weather conditions ranging from monsoon rain to glorious sunshine.

Fiesta at Udayan

Fiesta at Udayan

16 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

This morning began with an early start where we attended Mass t the Motherhouse and visited Mother’s tomb to pay our respects. We all found it very moving and the Sisters’ singing was beautiful.

Later in the day we were collected by Ramod, one of the original children from James’ first group of 11 little ones, to attend a celebration of our visit at Udayan. Also present were a number UK Friends of Udayan: John Coo, Justin and Caroline Coo, Keith Bashford, Anne King and Polly Pearce. We were greeted with garlands and a reception party of little children who took great delight in throwing flower petals over us as part of their welcome!

Asha Bhavan

Asha Bhavan

15 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Today we visited the Asha Bhavan Centre, which a home for physically challenged children. We were warmly welcomed by the children and their founder, Sukeshi Barui, with a rose and anointing on the forehead with a tikka.

Asha Niketan

Asha Niketan

14 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Our day began at noon after a very leisurely morning relaxing in the lounge. We travelled by taxi to Asha Niketan, a L’Arche community founded by Jean Vanier.

Udayan - Day 2

Udayan - Day 2

13 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Today we have had the most remarkable day at Udayan. It began at 7am, when we had couscous for breakfast. We were then given the opportunity to help in a boys’ IT class, using the computers sent over from St. Joan of Arc. They are all greatly appreciated and are being used well.

Tour of Kolkata and Udayan

Tour of Kolkata and Udayan

12 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

This morning was very special as we made our first journey to Udayan; we were warmly welcomed by James and everyone. James firstly introduced us to some of his main helpers telling us a bit about them. Many of them are former boys of Udayan who have returned as workers.



11 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

This morning we attended a service given by the Reverend James Stevens (founder of Udayan) at St Andrews Church. As we write this message we are sitting in the tropical courtyard under the palm trees at the Fairlawn chatting to James and his wife Lallita. We are discussing plans for our time at Udayan and are getting excited at the prospect being with the children.

Namaste (greetings) from Kolkata

Namaste (greetings) from Kolkata

10 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Last night we travelled on the overnight train from Varanasi to Kolkata, an experience we won’t forget! We arrived at 9.30am and were greeted by our porters – it’s amazing how they can balance two of our heavy suitcases on their heads! You’ll be pleased to know the sun was back, which brightened our spirits even more.

Discovering Varanasi

Discovering Varanasi

9 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

We finally had a much needed lie-in this morning, before setting off to meet the Little Sisters of Jesus. We travelled there on motorised rickshaws and explored Varanasi along the way.

Religion and the River

Religion and the River

8 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

After enduring another traumatic 5am wake up call this morning, we met our new guide and the coach took us down to the River Ganges where we had a boat ride at dawn.

Journey to Varanasi

Journey to Varanasi

7 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Today has been a rather interesting and eventful day with plenty of laughter along the way. We made our way back to Delhi from Agra and we arrived at the airport to find that our plane had been slightly delayed and we would have to wait for our internal flight to Varanasi. However we were not discouraged as on our coach journey we were able to experience many of the cultural differences between England and India, such as we saw elephants and camels along the roadside moving with the other traffic. Guess you don’t see that down Oxford Street!

Touring the Taj - Take 2

Touring the Taj - Take 2

7 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

Our apologies for the delay in getting this entry to you; unfortunately the hotel in Agra did not have an internet connection for us to upload our diary onto the website and today’s travelling has be rather hectic.
This morning was a challenge as we had to be out of the hotel by 5 am to catch the train to Agra. The train journey was pleasant and quick.

Touring the Taj

Touring the Taj

6 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

The third day of the trip was spent touring the Taj Mahal.

The group were unable to publish their diary entry today due to technical difficulties at their current accommodation. Please check back tomorrow when hopefully Chris will have posted the article!

Thanks for your continued interest in the group’s progress.

Touring Old Delhi

Touring Old Delhi

5 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

After our first day we were all still in awe and wonderment but had an early start Monday morning, approx 9am (3.30am GMT). Our guide Sanjeev took us on a tour of Old Delhi; firstly we visited Mother Teresa’s Shishu Bhavan Home for abandoned Children. It was an emotional experience however we all enjoyed interacting and playing with the children. We left 50 of our teddy bears that we had brought from England at the home as gifts for the little ones and they were very excited.

Touring New Dehli

Touring New Dehli

4 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

We finally arrived in India during the early hours of Sunday morning (11pm GMT). Journey wasn’t too bad, plane food was rubbish but we had TVs with movies and games, which helped pass the time. Weather is nice; warm and comfortable. Got to hotel at 4 o’clock in the morning (local time) after some minor plane delays at Delhi airport waiting to park and disembark. Coach journey from airport to hotel was more like a roller coaster ride with all the bumps and humps (we saw an elephant and Neal bashed his head).



2 February 2007 | Read full article and comments

It is with great excitement and anticipation we leave for India tomorrow. Most of us have an idea what we are taking though getting it into the suitcase is proving to be a struggle! I don’t think any of us can actually believe that we are off to India to visit Udayan – the place that much effort has gone into raising funds for. It will be great to see the work of the home and how our money has helped the children.

An Introduction to the 2007 Trip

An Introduction to the 2007 Trip

13 January 2007 | Read full article and comments

Welcome to the page for the 2007 trip to India. The trip is going to be held between 3rd February and 21st February, after the sixth form exams have finished and will last for two and a half weeks.