Through the Derby Diocese, we have been linked with Sukantanagar School in the Calcutta slums and in January 2017 Mrs Alton flew out to India to meet the link school and their teachers.
In January 2018, Mrs Alton visited the school again along with Mrs Dent. As the school does not have a fixed address, it is difficult to send items to them, but we can send equipment and other items to Calcutta Cathedral, who will deliver goods to our link school.
In January 2019, Miss Gibson and Mrs Dent flew out and sent emails back to Spondon on a daily basis, and we saw photos of what they had seen in worship. Here is a condensed version of their reports to us:
Saturday 12th January 2019 – upon arrival
Namaste! Which is Bengali for hello. Mrs Dent and I had a very good journey and have just arrived at the hotel. We went from Birmingham to Dubai, then changed planes to Kolkata where we had curry for breakfast at 4am! We are about 6000 miles from Derby and it is very warm for January! We were greeted at the airport by Rig and two coaches, one of which was full of our luggage. We have brought lots of resources for the schools out here, including the ones we showed you in our worship just 2 days ago. Having eaten some lunch we are soon heading off to see a temple. We will be ready for bed tonight because nobody slept much on the plane!
All for now, Miss Gibson & Mrs Dent.
Saturday 12th January 2019 – bedtime
We had a good night at Blue something- it was crazy walking through the streets of Kolkata- I have never seen anything like it. Everything is bonkers!! Off to church tomorrow and then the Ganges- what will tomorrow bring? It’s so surreal. I think it’s like being in a film of India multiplied by 20.
Sunday 13th January 2019
Hello St Werburgh’s
Today we got up extra early and went to the Cathedral for the morning service. It is very big inside and the service was similar you our services at St Werburgh’s but whilst we were all listening to the reading a chipmunk ran up the church wall which caught our eyes. I’m sure we don’t have those at St Werburgh’s. Today we have also been preparing for our day in school tomorrow and meeting the school’s interpreter and health visitor. We are very excited about visiting our school in Sukantanagar to see if they have got their new roof which you raised money for. During our first day there we will give them some of the resources we showed you in worship. Eating lots of spicy food has almost made steam come out of our ears, and they have been bombarded by the cacophony of beeping horns which everyone on the dangerous roads seems to do all at once.
We miss you all very much but will pass on St Werburgh’s love and care at Sukantanagar tomorrow.
Monday 14th January 2019
Greetings from India. This morning we were met by our school’s health visitor and we were transported through the busy streets of Kolkata to Sukantanagar to our link school.You have to almost not watch where the driver is going because there are near misses every second. We had a wonderful greeting at the school and we were given a necklace of flowers. Mrs Dent recognised some children from before. We sang some action songs in English and they also showed us a dance and sang 10 green mangoes which Mrs Alton had taught the children on her previous visit. We then told the story of Brown Bear in English and the children did a few activities relating to the story. We taught them colours by playing a game with skittle sweeties and the did some more language work. We took some clocks for the children and did some telling the time work. They were very good. It was a long day for us as the interpreter didn’t come and the children only understand a little English. On the way back we visited a kind of village where all of the people in all the houses were making statues to sell. First they start with straw and make the figure – then they add the clay and form the details. Some statues were tiny but some were as tall as 2 houses together. The statues are then painted and sold for the festival that will be happening in a few days time. When one festival is finished the people then begin making statues for the next festival. All of the statues eventually are put in the Ganges to wash away back into original mud/clay. Tomorrow we are going to train the teachers so we have lots to get ready.
Lots of love to you all. Mrs Dent and Miss Gibson xxxx