- Thia is the last day in Beerathamanahalli Hadi. So much happened in the day that I did not have the time nor the energy to write in the evening. Instead I am sat at fieldbase waiting for the other teams to unload. I shall try to recall the events to best of my ability...
- We rose at 6:30am well, I say rose, I was awoken by Kishore jumping on me shouting Catine! which translates loosely as FUCK YOU. I returned the gesture in it's English form and crawled out of bed. So began the monstrous task of cleaning 3 months of shit from our accommodation. It was an arduous task and I really could not be arsed. I managed to doss about for most of it by doing one of my favourite activities. Burning rubbish. Thankfully there was a lot of waste to get rid of so a large proportion of the morning was spent smoking and setting fire to plastic bags, two things that have done my lungs absolutely no good whatsoever for the past 3 months. But hey, when in Karnataka.
- We had a little opening ceremony for the toilets, to be honest around 90% of them weren't fully painted and looked a bit shit. We draped them in mango leaves and balloons and had a little ribbon to cut. "I now declare this shit-hole.... open!" The hard work of construction came to a wonderful little cadence.
- Afterwards, we gathered all of the villagers together and had a little tea party in the shade of the big tree by the school. Everyone was so happy, they told us that the village will be a quiet and lonely place without us. It doesn't feel real that we are leaving in the morning. It is time for our last ever sunset in the village. The whole team walked together to the sunset rocks (24/02/2014).
- We danced, ate cake and simply, 100% enjoyed ourselves. Everyone in the team is closer than ever.
- We loaded the bus after nightfall to a swarm of kids hugging us again and again and again. They really didn't want us to go and were asking us to stay and to live in their houses with them. They even managed to drag Mark and I to one of their houses for Chai. We sat under the stars with a good 15 kids and relished every moment.
- Binky garda!
- Yasin came to visit for the last time, he is Muslim so brought us a beef curry to try. As always, it was minging. The chicken was superb though.
- Late night beedies with Kishore then sleep.
11/04/2014 and beyond!
- The following two days were filled with goodbyes, tears, smiles and happiness. I will not indulge, it was hard enough the first time.
- The whole team was in tears for hours. That more or less sums it up.
- In other news, my Yankee 1 girl is really helping this trip end on a high. Not just because we were high. We are closer than ever in the early hours of Sunday the 13th April we shared a Kiss. I am in a state of bliss. It is 4:45am, I haven't gone to sleep yet and our bus arrives in 15 minutes to take us to the airport, I couldn't care less. My last night in India has been perfect When I'm feeling less soppy I'll reflect on everything that these past 3 months have brought me. Could be a while though, I can't wipe this smile off my face.
- Time for one hell of a long journey to begin. The past few days have been all over the place so I shall simply jump to the end and empty my brain onto paper....
- I am sat on a strangely familiar train slowly rolling out of London Euston taking me back home to Cheshire. I lugged my baggage through Heathrow arrivals to be greeted by the smile of my sister Becky who got my letter asking to come meet me. So begin a few more goodbyes, everyone was so keen to see their families most of the group just disappeared. Thankfully my friends can always be found smoking fistfuls of cigarettes in every smoking bunker in every airport terminal. Simone, Mark Nick and I all shared a final beedie together and parted ways to return to our respectful homes. Simone go the tube with us, she met her sister too but our conversation remained separate as we caught up on 3 months of Cheshire life. Simone and I had our last goodbye, a kiss and talk of how we can make something work. At the moment I have no idea how but I like to think that there's a way, we have both really fallen for each other, I suppose it is just something that will figure itself out.
- After 3 months of travelling and living with so many of my now closest friends, I am in a strange position to be sat alone on a train. The few people around me are all glued to their phones or laptops. I still have not turned my phone on, partly because I don't want to and partly because the battery is dead. Tomorrow, I will call Cait and Sophia as I never got the chance to say goodbye to them.
- Standing out all night with Simone was incredibly perfect but my arms have been absolutely raped by mosquitoes. At risk of malaria in the name of romance. I'm sat on the train itching like a crack head.
- It hasn't sunk in that I'm home yet, my brain is still on India Time, I definitely have become OCD with washing my hands, my immune system definitely deserves a break.
I am going to give it a week to rest my body and mind, without getting too drunk, I need to figure out a decent way of responding when people ask "So, how was India?" I could talk about it for hours, the pages in this journal show that completely, I just feel that when people ask it they don't really want an answer any deeper than "Yeah, it was great". If they really want to know then I may tell stories but my trust blog and journal has a much better memory span than my worn out old brain. I am not ashamed or embarrassed of anything that I have written here, they are usual just my pure thoughts that fall out on to the page, others are just simple descriptions of events, either way, they are mine and I am very proud.
- Just had to layer up with the spare shirt that was in my bag, it's ruddy freezing here... Bex said the weather was glorious but I think that was a lie. I miss the 38 degree heat in the shade already.
I am so close to passing out, no sleep since the night of the 11th and I hardly slept on the plane. All of that whiskey surely didn't help.
- Exhaustion has set in and I am delirious. Struggling to focus on the words I am writing. I really can't afford to pass out again...
Well guys, that's it. Shortly after falling asleep I woke up in Crewe station greeted by my mother's warming smile ready to take me home. Boy, was I ready to be home. Looking back on this whole adventure and reading my own thoughts has been an interesting experience. It made me appreciate the bonds I had made on that trip.
I am typing this blog up in Poland. That's right, I stuck to my word and I am spending the summer with my father here. I've also completed my Action at Home volunteering in a primary school spawning a brand new passion for teaching. I know what I want to be when I grow up and that is all thanks to the people in India.
From the Eye Camp to the First Kiss, I am still with my Yankee 1 girl, Simone. Well, we did say we'd figure out a way to make it work. 2 days after returning to the United Kingdom she hopped on a train and we climbed Snowdon together. Inseparable. She's been to visit me in Poland twice now and I can proudly say that I love her with all of my heart.
I quickly adjusted back to 'normal' life, only now I wash my tee shirts whilst wearing them in the shower, I wash my hair with a bar of soap once a week and I'm almost always barefoot. I appreciate the little things and I love everyone who I am lucky enough to have met and become friends with.
Thank you to everyone that donated and supported me in my adventure and the great work that Raleigh International in not only changing the lives of those living in poverty sustainably. But for also changing my life for the better.
I am happy. I am free.
Thank you for reading.
P.S. I know I speak badly of Tree Destroyer - Arun but you have no idea how much I cried when he came to me to say goodbye, I held him and just bawled out. I miss that clumsy bastard so much. See, I told you everything would work out in the end.