After a few languid days spent eating croissants and learning new things (surfing and motorcycle driving!!) in Pondicherry we’ve arrived at SAMSSS (the South Arcot Multipurpose Social Service Society) in Vikravandy. We’re here to conduct mini TMS classes as part of the Digital Education and after school programs run by Communities Rising, their (and our) amazing partner organization. My excitement for this week has been building up since I found out I would be working with TMS last spring- I spent a few weeks volunteering here at Communities Rising two summers ago and it’s just the most wonderful place. Seeing familiar faces at the schools, catching up with old friends and learning all of Vela, the cook’s, and dosa-making tricks feel something like a homecoming for me but I know it’s been a great change of pace for all of us.
The laid-back, almost bucolic atmosphere at SAMSSS is appropriately tempered by the excitement of our new students. On Monday and Tuesday we went to Periyatachioor where we had an eager group of 5th and 6th class students who showed up even though they were technically on holiday. I was nervous about the language barrier but we were more than able to circumvent it with the help of song, dance, drawings, and, of course, our two excellent junior translators Seenu and Saran. Once we taught the students how to use the cameras, which they took to right away, they taught us about the village by taking us on a walking tour. We had such a blast producing this photo story about the animals of Periyatachioor and I’m so impressed that the students managed to finish it in two days! E-I-E-I-O, enjoy!