Friday, May 31, 2013

People, Color, Life.

Sisters on a Mission

School starts in four days. Much needs to be done, especially a few maintenance projects around campus and the sisters are busy directing traffic. . .

and checking on the workers

while classroom furniture receives a new polish

and stone masons replace a retaining wall 

one chiseled piece of granite at a time.

Even the hostelers are given jobs.

(Yesterday they were carrying granite rocks.)

Without a doubt, the sisters will get it done.

Just in time for school.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Street Scenes

Quiet moments in Kerala

Hindu Temple

Corner pharmacy

Workers on foot

Catholic Idolatry

Shops in Kochi

School dismissal in Pallaruthy

Auto rickshaw taxi stand

Tech Workshop!

Laptops in the hands of eager middle school students can only be a good thing. 

In just three days these students conquered relentless power outages, 

temperamental wi-fi, tropical summer heat and a projector gone up in smoke...

  - to research, collaborate, write and create a PREZI for the very first time. 

Watch out global work force - these clever problem solvers are on their way...

Here is a link to their PREZI.

Jasmine Garland and Jackfruit

During the hot summer season the tropical fruits here grow in abundance. Mango, pineapple and bananas continue producing all year long but this is the season for jackfruit. These large textured lobes are hanging heavy on trees throughout Kerala.

The rough outer skin protects the fruit from the birds.

Here is what's inside.

Jasmine is also in bloom. Entrepreneurial merchants can be spotted all along the roads selling these blooms strung one by one into garland. 

Called mulla (short for mullapu in Malayalam) it is the flower of the Kerala woman.

The scent of jasmine will follow you wherever you go.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Visit to Kochi on the Malabar Coast

Last night the seasonal monsoon rains began - a welcome relief to the oppressive heat. The dark red-orange earth drank thirstily and afterwards the air was fresh, light and filled with the scent of jasmine.

I am staying at the residence of a group of Franciscan friars near Kochi. Their compound includes a large residence, a church and a retreat center on the grounds. There are seven friars living here full time but they regularly host guests from India and abroad along with a group of young Franciscan candidates who are studying here.

A rooster in the back garden begins calling at about 4:00 in the morning, waking first the bevy of hens and then the emus, the geese and the three turkeys living in the yard.

The residence is an oasis to the busy streets and daily activity present at the end of their road. There are coconut trees, banyan and jackfruit in their gardens along with bushes of curry leaves and pepper plants.


There is a volleyball court where the students engage in nightly competition at dusk before evening prayers and dinner. I sat on a bamboo bench last night watching them play with my eyes on the deep fields beyond where a man coaxed his cattle across the fields towards home.

The Franciscan friars are one of many religious groups living and participating in daily life here in Kerala. They are a part of the fabric of the community with their Hindu and Muslim neighbors.