Saturday, October 24, 2015

23rd October: Day 3: Vizag to Satapada, Chilika Lake

We had spent the night in Havilah's home in Vizag, and woke up early, feeling rested and refreshed. After packing our stuff in the car, and saying our goodbyes, we were discussing which would be the best route out of the city, when, quite impulsively, Havilah offered to show us the way on her two-wheeler.

She did. Straight to the Vizag beach! We had not realised her home was so close to the Beach! And what fun we had!

The Vizag beach is one of the more beautiful beaches I have seen. As we drove down the Beach road, the sight of Kailash Hill sloping down gently into the sea is one that will remain with us as a lasting memory of Vizag.

Early morning at the Vizag Beach 

A retired submarine at the Vizag beach

Residual damage after last year's cyclone

At 6am, the road had been closed to vehicles and was full of early morning walkers and joggers . We enjoyed looking at a retired submarine . We could see some of the residual effects of last year's cyclone.  We were told that the sea level in Vizag is rising every year, which has led subsequently to some great conversations with the children on global warming.

So, all in all, a tremendous experience.  Thanks, Havilah, for this great early morning surprise!

The drive to Behrampur was very good. Excellent roads. A great picnic - breakfast off the highway just beyond Vijaynagaram, beside a brook where we even found a water - snake. We reached Behramapur by 12.30pm.

Early morning dew on the grass

We actually found a water-snake at our breakfast stop

Breakfast stop somewhere between Vizag and the Orissa border

In Behrampur, we were happy to be able to visit Love the One, an NGO started by Catherine Morris and Mary Cusack, two British paediatricians who have been working in India with slum children for the last 5 years or so. They had spoken at Shiloh 2014, and it was a real blessing to be able to visit and see for ourselves what they were doing

Love the One strikes me as a very comprehensive attempt to work with these disadvantaged  children, one child at a time. We were shown around by Cat Morris, who told us the story of LTO, and a few of the children they have been working with. We saw the EPIC centre (early paediatric intervention centre), the new school that has been started, the small clinic,  the child sponsorship program and heard about the hub and spoke model that is developing. Mary was away in Hyderabad with 6 children needing major cardiac surgery.
Fun in Love the One, Behrampur. Announcing the Spot the Dheeraj contest!

Spotted on the wall in Love the One, Behrampur

Cat Morris and the EPIC centre staff

 We visited their home, and were introduced to their dogs, Molly, Daisy and Asha, and cat, Gizmo, whose stories I have been following on Facebook. It was inspiring to hear of all that is happening.  Please look them up on Facebook and have a look at their website. I think they would be really interested in building up a pool of committed Indian healthcare professionals, educators, and child welfare activists who could act as resource persons, and help them with locally relevant ideas, suggestions and staff training programs from time to time.

Hard at work on the drive: AH45
Hard at work on the drive: AH45
Hard at work on the drive: AH45
When the time came to leave for Chilika, we found an unexpected problem had cropped up. We had planned to use the ferry to get us and our car to Satapada, but found there is no ferry after 4.30pm. Useful information for our next road trip!  Anyway, to cut the long story short, we took the longer route around Chilika Lake to Puri, and from there to Satapada,  which included a disastrous shortcut suggested by Google Maps as a bypass to Puri (the road had not yet been completed, and was therefore in terrible condition. To make matters worse, this segment of the trip was made in pitch darkness). We finally reached our destination by about 8.30pm,  had a quick dinner, and I crashed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

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