School in the verandah

When we decided to settle in Aravenu which is a small township near a Kurumba settlement, we had to think about the schooling of our children.  At Kullakamby where we stayed first, Timmy was already going to KG class.  But now in Aravenu there was no English school.  There were schools at Kotagiri which is about 6 KMs from Aravenu.   But no school buses came to our place  which meant if Timmy was admitted to one of the schools in Kotagiri, daily some had to accompany him in the morning and evening using public transport.

So we decided we would have our own school which would help also people from lower middle class who could not send their children to Kotagiri.   While we were staying in the rented house in Aravenu we hired another place to run the school.

Joyce was trained in Child Evangelism after her B.A. and when we were in Madras she attended Balar Kalvi Nilayam, one of the best schools for children below five, as an observer for over two months.  These were sufficient for her to start a school in the village.  We had twenty five to thirty children in all and Joyce would give each child personal attention while the whole class will be engaged in corporate activities like singing, drawing, reciting etc.  Occasionally Joyce had some one to help her.  Other wise she managed it all by herself. 

My role in the school was minimal; it began after l985 when we bought a school van and I was the driver.   I helped in the morning and evening with the school trips.   All our four children except the youngest did their primary school with us.  When they reached class six they were able to go to Kotagiri by themselves.

From ’82-‘86 three children were born to us in the Nigiris.  By l984 we had five children below ten years and it was a tough time looking after them along with language learning, school, and evening out reach etc. in routine.  Added to all this we had a small dairy, a poultry, rabbits and bees to look after.  All these made our life very busy.  Those were truly very exciting days indeed.


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