My dear readers! I cannot describe how deeply sorry I am for the lack of updates. I was trapped in an Indian spiral full of colourful gods, spicy food, strange smells at every street corner, animals I knew only from TV and children in colourful clothes who bounce up and down. Stuck in this whirl of impressions, I never found the opportunity to share some updates on this blog. And whenever I found some, I was too lazy.
Today, I have collected some impressions from the last three months in India. May my dear readers enjoy these few lines and hopefully forgive my laziness.
The first stop for the castle was the little pilgrim town of Pushkar, with its famous Brahma temple (which I did not see in my one-week-stay). What I could see, though, were the girls of the Fior di loto-girl school jumping on the bouncy castle. This Italian-Dominican NGO runs this school and provides free education for hundreds of girls from the surrounding villages. It was the last day of school before the big holidays, so a little bouncy action was just appropriate.
Our next destination was Palitana in Gujarat. Jain pilgrims from all over the world come here, to climb the holy mountain and pray at the top. Their belief in non-violence against all living beings is pretty consequent (some wear a mask on their mouth to not swallow flies accidentally, some sweep the floor before them while walking, so they don’t step on ants). Their pilgrimage is similarily hardcore: they walk within 45 days 108 times to the top of the hill, some days even without eating anything. At 5am, the hiking path is already crowded with pilgrims, some cheerfully walking, some being totally apathic due to the lack of food for days, some playing in their smartphone while being carried up all the way (yes, that counts too!). We did not carry the bouncy castle up the hill, but it was an interesting experience nevertheless.
The castle went on towards Goa, where we set it up in Mapusa for two separate NGOs: once for Goa Outreach, an organisation by Rob James, a dedicated British guy, who moved to Goa and invests all his energy to help the little children in a poor neighbourhood of Mapusa. We set up the castle and with joined British-German efforts, we even forced the kids into a queue both countries can be proud of. Some strolling wild bulls noticed the bouncy event, but were not particularly impressed and did not take a closer look fortunately, as their horns were pretty impressive.
Only two days afterwards, we set up the castle in a nearby area for the Mango Tree trust. This time, we were supported by three other travellers, so we easily organized the bounce for the Mango kids and the ones from the neighbourhood. We took not only unforgettable memories with us, but also a lot of the red sand which stuck to the castle and ourselves. An evening sunset swim washed it away from our bodies at least.
The next destination for the castle was also the most southern point of our journey: Kochi in Kerala. Don Bosco, an Italian catholic organisation, operates several orphanages in the city. Parents in different states in India apparently abandon their kids and just sit them in a train towards Kerala, as this state has a reputation of caring for children. Well, Don Bosco certainly does. We visited the boys’ orphanage and set up the castle under an incredible tree directly at the waterfront, and the kids went crazy. Not too crazy though, they were all very well-mannered and listened to us carefully. I really wonder who would abandon their kids in such a cruel way, but at least these kids found a good home.
Kochi was the most far-away destination of my journey, so now it is slowly but steady back towards Germany. Not too steady though, some detours to bouncy locations are already planned. And for your patience, see these random impressions from the last months’ time: