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India 2011 | St Joan of Arc - Udayan

Arrival back in the UK

Hi All,

We are pleased to inform our readers of the India2011 diary that the group arrived back into London Heathrow to be greated by family and friends just before 7am this morning after a journey in which we left Kolkata at 6pm yesterday evening (12.30pm GMT).

On behalf of all the group we would like to thank our readers and those who have commented for their continued interest in the diary. The statistics of those reading our diary and the comments left for us have really motivated us throughout our trip.

We look forward to sharing our experiences of the trip and of Udayan with our friends, family, and in assemblies at St Joan’s and many other primary schools.

The India2011 Group

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Good night from India

Good night from India

23 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

So now we finally conclude our amazing two and half weeks in India. We have had a fantastic time and each and every one of us will be coming back with hundreds of memories which we can’t wait to tell all of you. From the beautiful Golden Temple in Amritsar to the very special times we shared with children at Udayan and Asha Bhavan. Today in Kolkata we were treated not only to a lie in, but then a very relaxed day to take in as much as possible of this breathtaking place, not to mention a spot of last minute shopping in the local markets. Now we are waiting to leave for our flights home and are very much looking forward to seeing all of our loved ones.

3 Days at Udayan!!!!

3 Days at Udayan!!!!

22 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Our last three days have been spent at Udayan and we have had the most amazing time! We have played football, cricket, hopscotch and hand games with the children. They have taught us some Bengali and Hindi while we have concentrated on reaffirming Beverley’s spoken English programme by talking to the children and assisting in their different classes.

Rally at Udayan and a Tour of Kolkata

19 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

After our 7 o’clock start we were greeted by Robert, one of the house brothers at Udayan, and went on the coach to Udayan where the march was beginning. We arrived to find the children lined up full of anticipation and a readiness to carry out the march to raise the awareness of leprosy as part of the National Anti-Leprosy Week. We started the crusade with Kathryn and Caroline waving flags to encourage the children and lift spirits. As we marched through Barrackpore streets many of the locals came out to support the cause and they appeared interested in the leaflets handed out by the children. Sadly we couldn’t stay with the protest as long as we would have liked as we had a coach awaiting to ferry us back to the hotel ready to begin our tour of Kolkata. As we made our exit we got to look back at the long line of children following us through the town, and we could see all of them were very happy. We left Beverley with the rally as she is staying at Udayan to make preparations for us so our time there is put to best use.

Asha Bhavan Centre

Asha Bhavan Centre

18 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Today we travelled to the Asha Bhavan Centre, a home, school and rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities about 45km outside Calcutta. It is yet another of Dominique Lapierre’s great ventures to help the suffering of those in poverty. The visit started with the children greeting us with garlands of flowers and we were invited to have some tea before the tour of the centre. We briefly met some of the children whilst they were enjoying lessons and saw physiotherapists helping to increase children’s mobility and independence.



18 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

After a 7.30 start, a lie in for us, we finally made our way towards Udayan, the pinnacle of the trip for all of us. The busy Calcutta traffic meant it took us about an hour and a half to get to get there. It was lovely to be greeted by Shanti, Lachmi, Asha and Tumpa: four of the 7 class XI girls whose studies we are helping to support through fundraising at St. Joan’s. Fortunately, they had a day off school today and gave us sweet smelling garlands of yellow marigolds to wear around our necks as a celebration of our arrival. We were also handed a calendar and the recent issue of Dawn (the Udayan newsletter). We were taken on a tour of the school; we saw the children in their classes, visited their dormitories and their sports hall. We were also shown clothes and accessories embroidered by some of the girls in a new training project.

A Morning with the Little Sisters and Our Arrival in Kolkata

A Morning with the Little Sisters and Our Arrival in Kolkata

16 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

We apologise for the lack of entry yesterday, unfortunately we ran out of time prior to preparing for our journey to Kolkata. Yesterday morning was spent with the Jesu Ashram fraternity of the Little Sisters of Jesus, founded by Little Sister Magdeleine 58 years ago. Little Sisters Maryananda and Mary spoke about how the Blessed Charles de Foucauld and Little Sister Madeleine founded the religious order by working among the poor in the community. They have spread all over the world now. After having a delicious cup of chai and Indian sweets we went up to their terrace which overlooks the Ganges. We were all blown away by the view and felt a sense of calm and serenity.

Day 10 - Varanasi

15 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

The tenth day of the trip was spent in Varanasi. Today the itinerary included visiting the Jesu Ashram fraternity of the Little Sisters of Jesus, founded by Little Sister Magdeleine 58 years ago.

Touring Varanasi

Touring Varanasi

14 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

The start of the day could not have been more perfect. It was another early start, but it was well worth it to see the sunrise over the Ganges. When we arrived there were many people setting up their market stalls. Down by the steps of the river people were having their morning wash in the river. We stepped into our boat and the sun was slowly rising, it was a magnificent site to behold.

Our Arrival in Varanasi

Our Arrival in Varanasi

14 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Today was greeted with another early start but this time it was to make our way to Varanasi. We spent five very bumpy hours on our now familiar coach. After a brief stop at a service station between Agra and Delhi we stocked up on numerous tins of Pringles, Chips Ahoy and Ritz biscuits to help ease the suffering of our rushed departure, having only consumed doughnuts, pancakes and eggy bread first thing.

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

13 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Today we had another early start taking a train down to Agra, giving us another opportunity to see what life is like outside the major cities. On arrival in Agra, we were greeted by our tour guide, Haji, then went to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal which is the world’s most recognisable testament of one man’s love. It was something that we’d all been anticipating with high expectation and we weren’t disappointed. The Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan, after his beloved wife, Mumtaz, died giving birth to their fourteenth child. Her death was predicted because she had heard the baby crying in the womb during pregnancy which was a sign of bad luck. In anticipation, she made her husband agree to three final wishes:

Touring Delhi

Touring Delhi

12 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Today we began our adventure touring through Delhi at the Jama Masjid Mosque. The mosque had beautiful architecture and it is the second largest in the subcontinent created by Shah Jahan the emperor and famous architect of one of the Seven Wonders of the World which we will be visiting tomorrow. We then went on a tour by cycle rickshaws around the back streets of old Delhi, the smell of incense and the buzz of commercial activity hit us the most. We even saw many monkeys!!!!

The Golden Temple (part 2) and Arrival in Delhi

The Golden Temple (part 2) and Arrival in Delhi

10 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Last night we dined at The Crystal and all enjoyed a delicious curry together with our guide.

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple

9 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

The Northern Indian sun shone brightly for us as the smell of pancakes wafted from the breakfast room and we enjoyed our first reasonable start to the trip. We travelled by horse and cart to Jallianwala Bagh to learn about the massacre of thousands of peaceful Indian demonstrators in 1919 by British troops following General Dyer’s inhuman orders. We were befriended by many Indians who chatted to us and asked for our pictures, slightly odd in light of the nature of the memorial. We were surprised how tranquil it was inside the memorial in contrast with the hustle and bustle of Indian life.



9 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Our trusty leader Admiral C. Weldon had bravely survived her ordeal of biting into a vegetable pakora yesterday which was in fact a whole green chilli. No harm done. We were all ready for the off to Amritsar at 5.45 am after an early breakfast – Joe won the omelette eating competition managing 41! New Delhi station at daybreak was a revelation with many early morning travellers: baggage bearing porters; weighing machines with flashing lights; people sleeping soundly; cartons, canisters and other cargo waiting to be loaded onto the blue Shatabdi Express which was to take us to Amritsar, a journey of some 6 hours duration.

Namaste from India

Namaste from India

7 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

Hi All,

Welcome to our India2011 diary!!!

It was with great excitement that we landed in Delhi at 10.20am (local time) this morning, 20 minutes ahead of schedule! The flight wasn’t too bad, although we struggled to get much sleep – we’ll put that down to excitement!



6 February 2011 | Read full article and comments

It is with great excitement and anticipation we leave for India today. 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.



21 December 2010 | Read full article and comments

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the St Joan of Arc Udayan Trip 2011 website, in anticipation of our visit to India in February. We hope to be able to provide all our readers with an insight into our journey as we travel through India by publishing a daily (where technology allows) diary written by the students along with photographs taken by us thoughout the day.

You will find at the top of every page the countdown to our departure and whilst out in India, where we currently are.