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LizF, AndrewDavid, pat_woolford, margo_oz, Mucky, Daneille, alice13, Melodie, Neil_oz, johnj_au, 646wyck, LoveItaly, hobbes, Judy_in_Calgary, SusanInToronto, preenyc, tropo, LN, crazymina, Lyndie, Peteralan, gk11b! Help, please!

LizF, AndrewDavid, pat_woolford, margo_oz, Mucky, Daneille, alice13, Melodie, Neil_oz, johnj_au, 646wyck, LoveItaly, hobbes, Judy_in_Calgary, SusanInToronto, preenyc, tropo, LN, crazymina, Lyndie, Peteralan, gk11b! Help, please!

Dec 6th, 2004, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Also in mail with reference to Uncle Alan. Postmaster said would take 10-14 days to reach destination, seems a long time, but then we often wait 2 weeks+from mail from US.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 12:30 AM
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Hi Alan, I always remembered the little children chasing after us in India saying "Alan Border, MCG" which is about all they knew about Australia. Well I would love to send your school children a package and as I am about to move back to Melbourne and am in a complete mess at the moment I will wait till I get there and send them some wholly Melbourne/Victoria stuff (that's my Christmas pledge). This is a lovely idea.
My husband and I sponsor a little boy in a village outside Mumbai through World Vision and enjoy seeing pictures of him growing and reading his letters about what he is learning. He wants to be a policeman when he grows up and I hope he realises his dream.
Daneille is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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Well, I guess I don't need to tell you how I felt this afternoon when I came home and saw that there were 21 replies! I know Neil_Oz won't believe what I am about to say now, but, the fact is, I am at a loss for words. Me!

I knew, because of what I know about the people who write on this forum, that this crazy idea wouldn't be a total failure. I was sure that I could count on five or six people who wouldn't tell me I was being stupid, or that this whole thread was out of line. But, of course, I didn't dare hope that I'd have twenty-one takers! And that's in just one day! I can't believe it! I don't think I will sleep one wink tonight!

Since you've all been so nice, let me tell you a little bit about the man whose name you wrote on the packages: Shaitan Singh. In his early twenties now, he comes from the village himself -- only, when he grew up, there was no school there. He spent his whole youth in the village, and he used to watch as the owner of the Shahi Palace (Bapu)drove tourists (in a jeep)out to the nearby desert, stopping at his village to pick up the camels for a trek. One day he asked Bapu if he could work for him, and that was the day he left his village and started living in Jaisalmer, sixty kilometres away. Now he drives the jeep, and, since there are tourists at Shahi Palace Hotel taking camel treks every other day, he gets to go "home" to his family several times a week. Most of the children in the village are related to him. On our visit, we sat in the shade of the one tree in the village (drinking mineral water) next to the oldest woman I have ever seen. She turned out to be Shaitan's grandmother.

I remember saying to Shaitan, "How amazing to meet children who don't know what McDonalds is!", and he replied, "What's that?" I asked him where else in India he had been... the answer was nowhere. He's never been past Jaisalmer. Not even to Jodhpur or Bikaner. But, even with that restricted environment, his world has just blown out since the day he asked Bapu for a job. For one thing, he can speak English quite well (although he can't read or write it). His cousins at the school in the village are all supposed to be taught English as part of the curriculum, but, of course, if the teachers can't speak it themselves, the children aren't going to learn much... and, indeed, I found that there was only one lad in the village (Swai Singh was his name; we nicknamed him "The Coca Cola King") who could say more than two words... and you can see straight away that he's going to be the next Shaitan. A real little entrepreneur who tried to charge me fifty rupees for a small coke (you can buy them in town for five)! But that's another story.... didn't mean to bore you, but maybe it will be interesting for you to have a bit of background to these children, since you're all being so wonderful to them.

I just got my photos back.... one of the kids is wearing her school uniform, though the day we were there was a holiday. Shaitan said that, way out there, school uniforms are not expected, and most of the kids don't have them, but in a few cases the parents, so proud of their school, have scraped the money together to put their child into a school uniform. I know this, to these children, is something to be proud of.... a real status symbol. My wife (Helen) showed the kids photographs of our two girls, and they instantly pointed to the school uniforms our daughters were wearing. That was what impressed them the most. I think that this is a very inetersting sidelight into the lives of these kids.

Sorry to bore you all... you can see that I'm having a wonderful time, and I'm not lost for words any more (too good to last, I hear Neil_Oz saying!)

I will check this thread again tomorrow night, and hopefully there'll be one or two more entries under this one, as encouraging as all those above.

Oh, and just to finish.... yes, of course, second-hand books are fine. You hardly see any other kind in India. Book shops are not the easiest thing in the world to find, and when you do find one, stock is limited and prices are high. That big atlas I found was second-hand.... so were the picture dictionaries, and so are the books in my second package. Somehow, I don't think the kids will turn up their noses on that account!

Thanks again to you all!
Alan is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 04:58 AM
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Alan, Posted this off to my Christmas card list. I'll get something off with my other holiday boxes.

Great opportunity to share. We've had a CCF child in India for years. It never stops amazing me how little it takes to make a difference there.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
TC is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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Will send a some art supplies and a picture/photo book of California. Alan, besides always offering great advice and insight on this forum, you are a true gentleman!
susiederkins is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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I just sent a package of school supplies from Detroit. I appreciate the opportunity to help.

dkw is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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Hi Alan,
I'm so glad I decided to pop in and check the Aussie board after a long absence...I LOVE your idea.

I teach in a middle school and 7th graders study India as part of their curriculum. Wouldn't it be great if my school could adopt theirs?

I have a friend who organized something like that for a Congolese school and it has been a wonderful experience for all involved. I've wanted to do something like that in my school but hadn't--now you've inspired me!

Let me see what I can do. The winter holidays start a week from Friday so we may not be able to get going on this until January. I'll keep you posted.

OneWanderingJew is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 09:16 PM
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I'm going shopping tomorrow for some goodies to send - what a great idea of yours, Alan.
marg is online now  
Dec 7th, 2004, 09:23 PM
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Hello Alan, I read your thread this morning but did not have time to respond. Tomorrow I also will send supplies for the school. Tomorrow is a "free" day so I will dedicate it to rounding up supplies for these dear children and will have it on the way by tomorrow afternoon.

As I have told Neil, my Dad was from Australia. You Australians are the best!

I am in Vacaville California, the southern end of the Sacramento Valley. I will try to find some postcards also.
And a map of California.

I am so glad I saw your thread. And I just remember something, there is a beautiful man from India here in Vacaville that I buy items from. I will talk to him about donating some items also.

Happy holidays to you Alan. And thank you for making us aware of this beautiful chance to spread good cheer.

LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 09:53 PM
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It's a good thing you're doing Alan. We've been worrying over some children that we sponsor in the Philippines who are near the area that the typhoon hit. Right now, there's no information to be had, and therefore nothing to be done as yet.

Joining in something like this, especially at the holidays, would be a good way to do something. A package from one St. Louisan and one Melburnian, living in Memphis, Tennessee will be on it's way asap.

Clifton is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 10:30 PM
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Clifton, your comment "a good way to do something" speaks volumes". I agree. And the disaster in the Philippines sounds terrible. I hope you get news soon. And hope all is well with the children you are sponsering. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 7th, 2004, 10:54 PM
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Actually Alan I want to send a personal comment to you. Yesterday morning through this afternoon for some reason I did not have hot water. Something wrong with the hot water heater. And waitied until today for the plumber. Yesterday morning when I put a bagel in my toaster oven it went POP and "died" so to speak with a smell of smoke.

The day had storms, rain, heavy winds etc. Annoying terrible day so to speak.

Well Alan, I saw your thread this morning (and thank you for including me in the heading, I am truly honored) and read your post.

Suddenly I looked at all I had and reread your post and felt so ashamed of myself for grumbling over lack of hot water and a burned out toaster. How spoiled we can become without realizing it.

As I told you, tomorrow will be devoted to these dear children in India. I am looking at this day with great joy.

But just wanted to thank you Alan, across the pond from me, for bringing me back to what life is really about.

I thank you dear one.

LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 01:27 AM
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Hi, Alan,
You are a gem amongst men. Well done for your great idea.
At present I'm in the throes of end-of-year admin items plus changing classrooms for next year as school finishes tomorrow week. However,I will be sending something off within the next couple of weeks. I, too, will be passing this message on to my teaching friends plus those in my address book who I know will be pro-active in support of this very worthy cause.
dotty is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 03:16 AM
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All these responses are so wonderful to read.... you cannot imagine how warmed I feel. I keep thinking, "How could I put all these people to so much trouble?", and then I read again what you're all saying, and I realise how much goodwill there is out there on the other end of this keyboard, and that the word "trouble" or "bother" hasn't even occurred to anybody.

I think LoveItaly summed it all up: "I am looking at this day with great joy". I liked that. In fact, LoveItaly, I liked everything you wrote. Can I tell you something interesting? I put your name in the heading because it stuck in my mind from some earlier post.... I know I was impressed with something you said on some subject, heaven knows how long ago. But I can't remember what it was, and, when I put your name on the heading, I couldn't remember then what it was, and I remember thinking to myself, "Maybe I shouldn't be putting this name in". I NEARLY took you out! Am I glad I left you in.... it must have been fate! The result of your inclusion was that you got to sweep aside your disastrous day without letting it get you down (it was fun to read about, though!), and we all got to read some wonderful thoughts from your pen. That's a great outcome for everybody!

There are just so many things I want to say individually to all of you.... but you're all too fast for me! Every time I log on, there are another six or eight replies, and I'm running about three dozen behind! Eventually I will get to respond meaningfully to everything that everyone is saying.... it will just take a while, that's all, because every time I log on I feel overwhelmed!

I loved the idea from the teacher who wants to organise a "mutual adoption" between her class and the class at Barna. I hope that one goes ahead.... it's the kind of thing I would have loved to do when I was teaching, but, somehow, the opportunity never presented itself. Your class must understand, however, that they will give more than they get in return, as these kids are not yet fluent in spoken English, so I am sure their written English would be close to zero. But what a thrill for them just to get a postcard with a photo of a "penfriend" stuck on the back!

And as for the person who copied this whole thread and sent it to everyone in his/her address book.... what possibilities this opens up!

I have, just tonight, emailed the Shahi Palace and told them to get ready for a BIG arrival, going on for days and probably weeks. I'm sure my email has utterly confused them, but, in just a few days, they will start to understand what I am talking about!

People often say, nowadays, that the Christmas spirit has died, that the season of goodwill has been replaced by greed and crass commercialism. Next time someone says that to me, I will direct them to look at this thread. I think that the 30-plus people who have written messages under this heading have generated enough Christmas spirit to light up the world! And, as LoveItaly and so many others have made clear, it's working both ways!

I am filled with admiration for you all. How about you all come out to Sydney next Christmas, and we'll go and watch the fireworks together?
Alan is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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Consider this all a big present for you too. You've been so helpful to all of us in the past, why wouldn't we respond. I'm sure many of us felt you needed cheering up since you have to experience a hot green christmas down under.

This thread could rival in length that old chestnut of Michi's " Not the regular Tourist things to do in Sydney" as everyone hops on the bandwagon!

happy holidays,

Andrew David

PS I'm reading Patrick Carey's "True History of the Kelly Gang" and I'm geographically confused. I thought you and Helen and kids lived near Emu Plains at the foot of the Blue Mtns. I've just been eavesdropping on young Nat at his sisters wedding in Emu Plains, somewhere in Victoria ??? Also what are these mia mia places they are sheltering in?

Thanks A/D
AndrewDavid is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Hi Alan
Just back from my streaking experiences in Disneyland and beyond and had to read this - what a lovely idea and I am not in the least surprised that it came from you. Will make sure that something goes off from this part of the country and hopefully will get there in time for Christmas.
Cheers to you and yours.
lizF is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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AndrewDavid, the confusion stems from exactly the same problem as you Americans have with your place names.... I recall always wondering why folk in thee US always identified themselves as coming from "New York, New York", or "Chicago, Illinois", instead of just the city. Then I checked the atlas of the US and found three or four Chicagos, a couple of Las Vegases, and so on. Blaxland is, indeed, near Emu Plains, NSW, at the foor of the Blue Mountains; however, the state of Victoria also boasts its "Emu Plains", probably named for the very same reason.... some early settler spotted a lot of emus gambolling or frolicking (or whatever emus do) over the plain. For more information on Emu Plains, Victoria, try this website: http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/ncas/m...st/dookie.html.

Mia Mia is a place, too. I only knew it as a state forest in Queensland, but, apparently, it's a district in Victoria also. I found it on http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargra...allery_08.html. We have lots of strange names in Australia, mostly corruptions of aboriginal words (I remember, when I was a boy, reading about the Min Min lights, a kind of UFO sighting a bit like your Roswell.... haven't heard of Min Min lately, however.... the name must have been coined by the same people that made up Mia Mia!)

LizF, I hardly dare log out today for fear of missing your next post.... your use of the word "streaking" has got me intrigued, to say the least! (Thanks for the offer to send a package.... I knew I could count on you!)
Alan is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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Apparently, and according to AndrewDavid, I was caught streaking in Disneyland in my attempts to get some good wholesome food and leftovers from Thanksgiving! I must say that I am now on a fasting & reducing diet for the next year after Disneyland if not for my health then for a better "picture" for my next streaking exercise!
lizF is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Not a "crazy " idea at all but just Wonderful!
Our package will be off tomorrow morning in the mail, from Jacksonville Florida

Thank you Alan, you are a treat!
Scarlett is offline  
Dec 8th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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Alan, I have a question. Pencils need to be sharpened. Would it be consequently a good idea to send a few non-electric pencil sharpeners?

I have a feeling, from what you have said, that this is another item the school does not have. Please, when you have time, let me know. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  

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