Time to say goodbye

Every story has an ending. So the last day of our exchange program arrived. We started this day with the celebration of Laura`s birthday and feedback and reflection on the program, the food and accomandation, the group and the things we have learned.

In order to keep India not only in our minds and hearts but also to share it with our family and friends, we went shopping in the Commercial Street. There we found clothes in all different colours and shapes and extraordinary jewellery. After feeling like shopping queens and kings, the students of SCMI from many different regions presented their painting, song or poem about the women’s day under the title “masculinity”. These performances were really touching and inspiring and give hope that one day we do not differientiate due to gender or sex anymore, because in the end we are all humans. This message is a really good take-home message before flying back to Germany.

Our farewell party at the rooftop with Barbecue and unsuspected fireworks from the neighbourhood gave everybody the opportunity to say good-bye and the chance to dance one last time all together.

Tomorow four of us are flying back to Germany and the others are splitting up in three groups and explore India for two more weeks on their own. We are very thankful for the last two weeks and will never forget the time and the experience we shared.

Travelling, Celebrating Women’s Day, Visiting Indian family and attending church service!

16 hours journey from Kerala to Bengaluru was wonderful! We reached Bengaluru near about 8:30 in morning and we started our day with various workshops after having healthy and tasty breakfast. SCMI has organised Creative Arts Workshop on Masculinity on Women’s Day. Students from Germany and Indian Exchange programme actively participated in drawing and writing  workshops with other SCMI Students. Students expressed their thoughts very beautifully and creatively on Women’s. It’s shown that what women’s wants and what are the expectations, specifically it’s showing us the inequality and situation of women in India. Students were having thoughtful discussions not only in workshops but in Train and in their free time on Gender and spiritual aspects which helped them today to put all thoughts together in one frame.

In India Family is one of the most important social institution. To read about it in books is always different than visiting family personally, so as per our exchange program plan we decided to visit a family in Bengaluru. All group were invited by Vijay and his family. His family welcomed us with cold drinks. It was our group pleasure to visit his family and interact with them. We talked with Vijay’s family and enjoyed home cooked food with Paysome.  We sang together and at last Annette thanks his lovely family with ESG candle and small memorable presents so Vijay’s family will always remember us.  It was so warm and lovely family visit for everyone.

We had a small brake for the Tea and after that we  attained evening service at St. Mark’s Cathedral. The day ended with the dinner in SCMI.

Our Last Day in Kerala

On our last day in Kerala we had a goodby-event with our frinds from SCM. After packing our luggage we went to SCM Keralas house in Trivandrum.
At the stairs students from all over the region where waiting for us. First we exchanged information about Germany, ESG Bonn and SCM Kerala. Afterwords we had a lively discussion about the SDGs and the situataion in both countries.
Becoming hungry from alle the discussion we had a big lunch together with the students. They perpared a lot of different curries, masalas and sauces for us.
In the afternoon a local music group played folk songs and the students invited us to dance. We will never forget this warm welcoming by our friends in south india.
Sadly we had to leave soon after to get our train back to Bengalore. Now we will ride it for 16 hours until we reach Bengalore. In the train we use the time to chat and enjoy chai until we will fall asleep.

Close to the equator – village and beach

This morning started with a visit to Padmanabhaswamy temple, an important Hindu temple.

After a delicious lunch, we drove to a small fisherman village. In this village, you can find a church a Hindu temple and a mosque. We met the priest of the impressing catholic church. In the village the Indian government is about to build a big industrial harbour for trade purpose with Dubai and Singapore. From the top of the church the village reminded us of Rio de Janeiro, due to a tall Jesus-statue. Back to the ground again, we were able to watch the trading of fish at the shore. A big sensation was a shark lying dead in the sand. Just around the corner, on the other side of the lighthouse, we found the touristic Kovalam beach. Some of us took a bath in the ocean, others went shopping or enjoyed a fresh juice in one of the many restaurants.

Day at the beach…

Woken up by the impressive sound of raindrops hitting the surface of the backwaters, the group enjoyed the last swim, yoga practice and breakfast on the boat.

Back to the ground, some experienced their first ride with an autoriksha as we made our way to our stay for the day: Surrounded by a beautiful garden directly by the beach. Of course we immediately headed to have some fun in the waves!

After a walk to the center of Alleppey where we visited a catholic church, we had the opportunity to have some delicious lime juice. We spent the afternoon playing games, painting, relaxing and started our train ride to Trivandrum in the early evening.

Let´s see what comes next…

Kerala Backwaters (or: How to relax on a house boat)

Our morning started with two new experiences: heavy rain (now we got an idea how Monsoon could feel like) and Appam and eggcurry, typically Kerala breakfast.

After breakfast and packing we left Aluva to our next destination: Allepy. On the way we stopped at a fruit stall to buy grapes, pineapple and oranges which was really refreshing.

Arriving in Allepy we directly boarded on our very beautiful house boat that would lead us through the Kerala Backwaters. After discovering the boat and the landscape we had time to read, relax, play games and getting to know each other even better. We also took a swim in the suprisingly warm water! 🙂

Very relaxed we will have dinner now and will see what else the evening will bring.

Adith´s Day

Today Adith took us to his college in Avula, Kerala state. The UCC, Union Christian College, was founded in 1921 by four Indian graduates. At the entrance gate we were warmly welcomed by Adith’s fellow students.

Kerala is in many ways special in the Indian context. The overall level of education, especially among women, is high. So we meet far more female than male students in this college.

The students use the opportunity to exchange information about their studies and everyday student life. The college is a place of interreligious coexistence. Christians, Hindus and Muslims study and live together here.

Together we enjoy the traditional cuisine of Kerala. The different dishes are handed out on a banana leaf and then eaten with hands. Indian and German students serve each other.

At the end of the day we are all grateful for the meetings and conversations and enjoy a boat trip in the harbour of Cochin.

Arriving in Kerala

this morning we had a hiking tour through the forest which was more adventureous than it may sound because of a wild bison that was known to be in that particular area

Returning from that the group enjoyed some tea and cake in a café with incredible view over the valley of Wellington.
Later a part of us went back home to have some more rest while others walked to a small fruit market and tried mango, plums and even tree tomato!

After lunch we started our journey to Coimbatore by rail steam locomotive. Sitting one next to another we enjoyed the stunning landscapes that we were passing. We continued our travels by night bus and reached our destination in the early morning

Exploring the Nilgirian Area

We started the Sunday morning with a meditation and a delicious breakfast. Full of expectation we started our trip throug the Nilgiri area. First we visited Kodamalai, a small village of the Badaga tribe. On top of the hill we found a colourful temple and had a beautiful view over the misty Mountains.

Our next stop was the Bellatti tea factory. We walked along the different steps of producing tea powder. To fulfill our experience we had a tea at the next street shop.

After lunch we had a walk in the Botanical garden in Ooty where we enjoyed the plants and flowers. On our way we got to know a Mud House which is a tradtitional building of the Toda tribe.

Last stop was another tea and chocolate factory where we could expend our knowledge and taste some tea and chocolate. Spontaniously we had the opportunity to overcome our fear of the height and have a lot of fun!

We closed day with a delicious barbecue and singing some songs at the fire.

On our way…

Today we left Karnataka and made our way to Ooty in Tamilnadu. During the bus trip we were able to see many different things and landscapes, one of the highlights was crossing the Bandipur forest and seeing a bathing elephant.

learning some german words while wating for the bus

After we arrived at our new nice place, we could rest and spend some nice time together playing, talking and taking some pictures, so we can start with renovated energy tomorrow.