Isha Vidhya Art teachers encourage creativity among students using locally available, inexpensive material. Kids had fun as they painted the cut plates with their favourite colours and designs.
Support rural education - Donate to Chandini Ammineni Anitha Reddy fundraiser for Isha Vidhya USA
What do 2 Vegans eat on a road trip from London to Mongolia ? Well Chandini Ammineni Anitha Reddy through the help of Google translate and some assistance from locals have managed to feed themselves the last 2 weeks.
Now that the vegans are fed, let's look at why mid day meals are so critical for uplifting rural kids through education.
Many Isha Vidhya students come from poor families and so suffer from malnutrition and anemia. The midday meals go a long way in providing a well-balanced nutritional diet at a subsidized cost to our students. For $72 you can sponsor a nutritious meal to one child. For most kids meals provided at Isha Vidhya USA Schools are the only source of nourishment each day. Donate at http://bit.ly/harriet4education
Why drive 10,000 kms in an Old Beat up Car ?
We’re two adventurers who heard about “The Great Mongol Rally” and thought, “Why not?”. Driving across two continents with no support, set route, or plan, all on a whim, why wouldn’t we immediately say, “Yes!”? Enter: the rally.
Our cravings for this adventure caused a buzz among our friends and relatives who promptly named us Exhibit A and Exhibit B. They started being loudly and overtly concerned that we were off our rockers, whi...le secretly marveling at the idea. (yes, we know your secrets!)
Realizing this was an opportunity socking us squarely between the eyes, we decided to add one more wrinkle: use the buzz to raise awareness and funds for charities we love! We want to help save some rainforests and help educate some kids.
Day 16 of #MongolRally2017
5760 kms traveled so far
50/200 kids sponsored!!! We are at 1/4th of our goal, thanks to all of your donations and sharing! We are se...eking tax deductible donations to send kids in rural India to school instead of to work. Help at http://happyharriet.co
After a LOT of waiting and uncertainty, and a bit of bad blood, we are getting on a ferry to Turkmenistan. We load after the cargo trucks. The travel time is technically 18 hours, but depending on weather and how busy the Turkmenbashi port is, it might be 5 days before we unload the car (and ourselves) off the boat. Then past the notoriously slow customs (Zootopia Sloth slow), and then max 5 days in Turkmenistan where we are roumered to have no access to social media (or maybe even internet). Maybe it's all just boogeyman stories and I'll be back badgering you tomorrow. Who knows. Until then, we are going dark. Radio silence commencing in 3...2....1
Our fundraising is not going into radio silence though, so please continue to share http://happyharriet.co and help us send 150 more kids to school. 🙏🏽
Today was win...dy as hell (the reason we're not on the boat to Turkmenistan yet) so we explored a bit. Visited two spots with natural flames (fueled by the enormous natural gas reserves) and saw first hand why Azerbaijan is called "The Land of Fire" (Imagine how mysterious and terrifying this must've been for people who didn't know why a mountainside or some random rocks were on fire!)
First was Ateshgah, a Hindu and later Zoroastrian Fire Temple! I found the place meditative, despite gusting winds, heavy foot traffic and no walls. They've excavated evidence of Ganesha and Shiva being worshipped here. The main alter is in the center and there are many tiny prayer and meditation rooms around the courtyard.
Then it was Yanar Dag (lit. Fire Mountain), not much of a Mountain, but after seeing the fire at the base you walk up for a view of the village. What we experienced was winds gusting over 40knots (about 70 km/hr). We were literally getting knocked over.
Then went over to the port looking for a spot on the next ferry and parked our car there. Found no information. With the winds expected to die down on Wednesday, and with no queuing system or pre-booking, it might be a blood bath between all the parties trying to get into a ferry. Let's wait and watch.
Came back and caught up with other teams. Found at least one other team traveling our route (but they are 3 of them and might drive up to 14hrs/day) - so we might get to convoy.
With 47/200 kids sponsored, spent a bunch of time spamming people for donations today. If you have any idea how to get our story in front of people who love to travel (so we can raise awareness and funds to send kids in rural India to school instead of to work) we would definitely appreciate your help 🙏🏽 http://happyharriet.co
With both 2nd... and 3rd gears grinding, I've temporarily suspended Anitha's driving privileges (waiting to see how she will retaliate - maybe suspend my supply of cucumbers?!!! 😱 my day is hot, boring, and unbearable (not to mention constipated) without the mindless munching of cukes!). Unable to skip shift from 1-4, I've now resorted to double clutching . With no tach, upshifting while double clutching is easier since I'm just letting the engine slow down, but downshifting is still tricky as I've yet to develop a "feel" of where to rev up to for each gear. Most important of all, I'm following the sage advice of Michael Brown: "drive it like you need it, not like you stole it" 😂🤓
Driving early in the day is quite enchanting. When we can afford to turn in early at night, we start driving early in the morning enjoying the fresh smells of the dew and deep yellow tints of the land. Mornings like these are one of the more pleasurable perks of a road trip. Today was one such morning. After a beautiful 1hr drive, we went to a border crossing where the limbic-brain-survival-instincts of fellow humans were in full display. Cars and trucks trying to cut us off in lines and a very friendly stranger shaking hands and inquiring after the Taj Mahal (like my uncle built it) all in the hopes of getting us to give him USDs in exchange for the unidentifiable bundle of notes he pulled out of his pockets. 🤑Just this morning, I had a friend of mine, who has established a school and trust that educates 4000 kids in Bangladesh, donated £250 for our fundraiser. The beauty and richness of our journey has been in the sheer diversity of experiences we encounter. Please help enrich this journey, and most importantly, the lives of rural children in India forced to live out their tender lives toiling in fields and factories by sharing our posts with friends, neighbors, colleagues, enemies, frenemies, random strangers.... and help send more children to school. (I can send you an email template - please PM me!Also, if you have ideas of how to create more awareness, we are all ears)
After 5hrs at the border, we were cruising down the highway when we were stopped by the flashing lights of a cop. He mimed we had overtaken a vehicle in the "no passing" zone. I've been bending road rules and passing vehicles from all sides since we entered Turkey, but this one was a complete BS claim by a cop who obviously wanted us to cough up some bribe. He dialed someone who could speak English and handed me his phone. I expressed great surprise at having been accused of breaking road rules and told him the story about being tailed by a van (which we were). I claimed I was frightened for my life and was trying to get away from the van. He asked me to pass the phone back to the cop. After a brief conversation the cop passed it back and the customer support guy on the phone said "I understand, but you crossed in no-passing zone so there is fine. You pay in bank or you pay here". I repeated my entire tale of woe, conveniently ignoring anything remotely related to a fine, about how I've never broken any road rules in the 10 countries we've driven through so far and how we are going all the way to Mongolia and how the large monstrous van was scary. Then he asked me hand the phone to the cop, the cop spoke to the guy on the phone in local language, and the entire process was rinsed/repeated another 3 times at the end of which the cop said an exasperated "Go!". I would've actually paid the fine if he had really caught me (and only me) breaking rules. There were dozens of cars, vans, trucks happily breaking rules and passing around a curve, right next to where the cop was chatting with us AND he saw the van that barreled down behind us and passed us right before he pulled us over. He ignored them all! I refuse to pay up for BS!
But sending kids to school instead of to work is no BS. We are at 40/200 kids. Help us raise awareness for this cause. Http://happyharriet.co
(I have a good email you can forward - so PM me pretty please! 🙏🏽)
Today we stay put in Tbilisi, Georgia. Gave our bodies and minds some rest.
Morning started off with Anitha traveling to a phone store to get her SIM card figured out while I spammed more people via email and messenger demanding dollars. Having figured out the public transport directions to the phone store, Anitha went to the bus stop that was 5mins away with enough time to catch the 8:30am number 31 bus. It was no more than a 1hr job, but when she didn't return until 11am I began to wonder what had befallen her. Finally she arrived at 11:30 with her tale of reduced brain function. Apparently she stood in the bus stop for well over an hour staring hard a every blue bus that stopped and being puzzled why none of them was numbered 31. After some miming and pointing at colors in her blouse, someone made her understand she had to be looking out for a yellow colored bus! The blue buses were modern buses whereas the yellow ones looked like large vans - not deducing they were also public transport (even though they were stopping, picking up and dropping off passengers at the same stop she was standing at) she missed a few number 31 "buses" before she figured out her number 31 "bus" was a glorified large sized van! Once she returned, all worldly wise about bus colors and naming conventions, we went off to see some of the old town, walked up some forts and great looking old buildings, made friends with a carpet seller named Gusha (means "rising sun" in Georgian) whom we completely deflated by sharing that "Usha" (which also means rising sun in Indian languages) is a girl's name.
Met a man from Crimea who is working here and doesn't want to go back there because of war and corruption. He knew a lot more about Goa than we did! Met a friend of a friend for dinner and discovered portion sizes in Georgia are as large as US - too much food, too little space in stomach, but had a hearty Georgian dinner of bean pancakes, mushroom soup, boiled potatoes with dill, momos (don't think they were very Georgian), some amazing ground spinach cakes, and the ever-present and always welcome tomato cucumber salad with parsley.
Tomorrow's plan is to cross Georgia-Azerbaijan border + 5hrs of driving to halt overnight in a town called Ganja 😂
We are slowly inching up again with 38/200 kids sponsored. Please help share our stories at work, in your neighborhood, any communities you belong to etc. - people seem to appreciate the entertainment and hopefully will be moved to send more rural kids to school instead of to work http://happyharriet.co