Friday, 8 January 2016

In Palampur, Anything Is Possible!

COUNTRY: Palampur
PROJECT: Flinders Speech Therapy
WRITTEN BY: Izabella Tunis-Notley

A whirl of colours and patterns, puzzling road signs (love thy neighbour, but not while driving) laughing children (screaming children too), rogue cows, scallywag monkeys, frantically learning Hindi the night before a session, multiple mild zaps from our laptop chargers and equally shocking food puns (I’ll have na’an of that, thanks dahl). Our senses continue to be bombarded from all angles, and yet it’s surprising how quickly we have adapted to life here.

Every morning the striking backdrop of the Himalayas looms above us in the distance as we dodge between ornately decorated trucks saying ‘Horn do!’ on our way to school. During these bus rides we set personal goals for the day (e.g. I will use a slower rate of speech and simplified English) and discuss any issues we might be anticipating. Of course, there are always unexpected challenges that arise, but we are quickly becoming masters of flexibility (both clinically and through the odd yoga class).

Once we arrive at school, we greet the children with multiple high fives (bring your Dettol) huge grins and repeated Namaste’s. We run two individual sessions, work in the classroom with the teachers and then hold a group session for the whole school. A highlight from Rotary school this week was the day of torrential rain, resulting in an indoor Bollywood dance party for group time. It was fantastic. There were games of musical statues, limbo and then ultimate dance freestyle, and let me tell you – these kids have moves.

We are learning so much, not only clinically but about the Indian culture too. At Harmony school there are in-depth discussions over lunch with the principals about arranged marriages, the Dalai Lama and dramatic tales of the Hindu Gods. We are learning the simultaneously fast paced yet slow motion ways of Indian time, and of course the Indian saying ‘Anything is possible, yes.’

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