A week at Sholai School

It has been a while since I wrote anything on the blog, there are just so many other things that keep us occupied here! Right now the boys are on a solo by the river for the morning and this gives Petter and myself some time to put things online.

We arrived at the Sholai School in the Palani Hills, a mountain range in the Western Ghats on Wednesday morning. We took an overnight train from Bangalore, which was an experience in itself! When we got to Kodai Road train station early on Wednesday morning Murali, a former Brockwood mature student was waiting for us. We had another 2 hour drive to go to get up in to the mountains. The school is tucked away in a quiet valley and it is absolutely beautiful here. Straight after our arrival Murali took us for a walk around the campus and showed us the micro-hydro pump, solar panels and biogas which provide Sholai with all its energy needs. The different buildings on the campus are surrounded by the vegetable gardens and the coffee and pepper plantations. There are plenty of monkeys, wild boar and even elephants and leopards in the mountains here.

The next day Murali took us for a walk up into the mountains, where we saw lots of elephant dung, but unfortunately no elephants. We did see many beautiful birds and black faced monkeys, as well as a huge Rat snake swimming at the bottom of a waterfall.

On Friday we went higher up in to the mountains, to the rain forest. We spent the morning there, also visiting a nursery with all endangered or almost extinct plant species that are being reintroduced. James and Alby had their fill of climbing trees and after we went to Kodai Kanal, which is the biggest town around here, to have lunch and do some shopping. There are quite a few tourists around here, and it was the first time since our arrival in India that we saw so many white faces!

Yesterday we helped on the farm, picking coffee and separating the beans and the pulp. None of us had ever seen a coffee tree before, let alone the whole process of preparing the beans for consumption. First the beans need to be picked, then the pulp and the beans are separated. After, the beans are soaked in water for a few days and then they are laid out to dry in the sun. Then they need to be polished, and finally roasted. Here at Sholai this process is all done by hand.

At the moment it is holiday time here at Sholai, so there are only a few students around. This means the electricity supply is limited. We won’t be able to use the computer again before we go to our next destination, the Valley School in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Happy holidays everyone and have a wonderful Christmas time!

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