A Morning with the Little Sisters and Our Arrival in Kolkata

16 February 2011

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.

We then walked along the Ghats as far as the burning ghat. This is where cremations take place. Hindus cremate their dead and if they can afford to bring the body to the Ganges it can be burnt there and the ashes scattered on the water; others simply bring the ashes of their cremated relatives, indeed we saw some ashes being scattered on the river. It was a moving experience for us.

Later we took the sleeper train all the way to Kolkata which is 1200km away. There must have been a cow on the line as the train was 4 hours late! Contrary to expectations we all slept pretty well, and managed to pass the rest of the time talking with other passengers and playing cards. We finally arrived in Kolkata at 1pm and were thrown into the madness of Kolkata traffic and the heat on our taxi ride, crossing the massive iron construction that is Howrah Bridge over the River Hooghly. Our hotel, The Fairlawn, well known to Caroline, Kathryn and Chris was very welcoming and we were all relieved to be there.

In the early evening Bivash Saniel, Hon. Secretary of Udayan, came to visit us at the hotel where we chatted about our itinerary and our time at Udayan. It was great to see him again.

Tomorrow we will visit Udayan and the leprosy hospital at Tittagarrh. We look forward to updating you tomorrow.

Big hugs and kisses to everyone.

xxxxx

Comments:

bridget, year 5, st. johns

@ 2468 days ago

Hi everyone,
hope you enjoyed the train journey (but I’m not sure you did!). I hope you got enough sleep. Was the hotel nice? What did you and Bivash Saniel, Hon talk about other than what you put in your blog?

I would like to say thak you for sending all your detailed blogs in. It’s great to hear what you have been up to.
Good luck for tommorrow, I hope the children like the books and teddys.
Lots of love, from Bridget.
xxx

Theresa

@ 2468 days ago

Hi all. glad to hear that you arrived safely in Kolkata and sooo envious that you travelled by train Sabina! I’m sure that tomorrow will be a day of mixed emotions and also a memorable one. Make the most of it! Best wishes and safe travelling to all. x

Lorena year 6 St John's school

@ 2468 days ago

Hi everyone
How was the train journey, 14 hours! Did that get boring?
What were the trains like ?
I heard you brought a whole suitcase full of teddys and books, I hope the children liked them!
Tomorrow have fun,Im sure you’ll have a great time visiting Udayan
Lorena x

christine bernie

@ 2468 days ago

so pleased you all arrived safely you will never forget this trip and the best is yet to come lots of love to you all and the children. xxxxxxx

St Johns Primary school year 5

@ 2468 days ago

We hope you enjoyed seeing all the children, we bet they were excited to see you. We would have loved to see their faces as you gave them the teddies and the books. Did they have interesting stories to tell? Can you tell us about any of the children you met?
What games did you play?
What does Udayan need as a priority? All of us here would love to help in any way we can.
How were the beds that we bought for them? We hope they get good sleeps as we know they have busy days.
Is there any chance of letting us know at some point the typical day of a child at Udayan? Is the money that has been raised making a difference to their lives?
We know that we ask a lot of questions but we are so interested about Udayan and the work that goes on there.

We are once again so proud and in awe of what you are doing. You are true ambassadors of St Joan of Arc.
God bless take careXX

P.S. are there any links to Udayan directly?

Beth and Analisa ,st johns school ,year 5

@ 2468 days ago

Hiya everyone We heard that you are going to Udayan. I hope they are as happy as you will be.I hope they will all enjoy the teddies and the books.Did you play lots of sport ?
We are all so proud of you !!!!!!

Thank you for keeping in touch and posting all this wondrful information

wishing you all the best

love Analisa and Beth
xx