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Ailsa Vincent: Adventure Story

AILSA'S TOP ADVENTURE TIP: Step out of your comfort zone and make new friends.

Call me a comfortable Armchair many years I have followed the Adventure Ashram rallies around Southern India and up into the Himalayas and Spiti Valley. Thanks to the www I have seen Doc weighing and measuring babies before handing out vitamins and medicines to young families, Solomon juggling his buses and education centres for the tribal children in Tamil Nadu, Stanley and Parashew creating a home for street children in Mysore as well as all the children themselves. Their smiling hopeful faces are often the first faces I see in the morning as the time lag between India and UK brings the email request from Fritha to "just proof read" this Facebook update before I have my cup of tea.

It changed last Christmas...I was earwigging a family conversation as you do ...when to my astonishment Fritha replied "I have a flat in Bengalaru now." So my Armchair days were over, for the moment at least. No I was not going to sit astride an Enfield Bullet bike but as a dutiful mother I was going to inspect Fritha's new pad! And so I found myself in a tuktuk off to buy bucket and mop!

Cleaning accomplished I was lucky enough to shadow Fritha on a visit to Tamil Nadu Tiger Reserve. At last I met the children sponsored by Adventure Ashram, their teachers from the villages and Solomon with his family. What a welcome we had! We jostled with the children on their bus to school and watched as an elephant crossed the road. At school we swapped stories and songs. Festooned with garlands we attended the celebration to open an Education Centre in a remote village. On the way home we caught a glimpse of wild dogs feasting on a fresh kill. In Mysore we met the bakers and guzzled cakes from the bakery developed by Odinadi. We clambered into the excavation for the new duck pond and joined the kids painting their new perimeter wall. It was brilliant! Back home now in my arm chair..." Pass me that atlas...So where is this place Spiti Valley?"!!!

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