I thought hard about how to prepare Harry for my recent extended trip. He’s very used to me being absent for a night here or there when work takes me away, but an absence of Eight Big Sleeps was unprecedented. We talked about it in the few days beforehand so that it didn’t come as a surprise, and that seemed to work pretty well. A couple of days before I left for India, I stumbled across this free downloadable paper globe kit, so we made one together and worked out where Harry would be, where I would be, and how long a plane takes to fly between them.
We painted India in bright pink so it was easy to find, and then carefully placed the globe on the fireplace where it could be taken down and examined whenever Harry wanted.
These paper globes are beautifully tactile and surprisingly sturdy; I used 170gsm heavyweight recycled paper for ours. If you download the PDF, you’ll see it is constructed by building a paper skeleton and folding the spherical globe segments into place around it. I tried this, then cheated and simply abandoned the inner skeleton, instead just cutting, folding and glueing the outer pieces together to form our hollow-but-robust version. (nb If you choose our method, you’ll only need to print the first 4 pages of the PDF).
I had a few emails and comments asking about my trip, so I’m sharing a little more below; I work in healthcare ( so not creative, but very fulfilling), and I went to India to see how NGOs and government try to tackle some of the challenges of providing basic healthcare and access to education to those who live in urban slums and remote rural communities. I expected to see – and did – some sobering and shocking things. What struck me equally though were the things that I didn’t expect;
That there is beauty and entrepreneurialism to be found everywhere….
..That the children I met who live and work in the most extreme poverty have an irrepressible energy and joie de vivre, and bonds that run deep;
These children (above & below) are all ‘rag pickers’ living illegally in Deonar, Mumbai’s largest dumping ground for waste. They and their families pick through the dump looking for items they can sell.
…And that the next generation of women can together change their world.
These girls live at the dumping ground but are now attending school and spoke impressive English. Shy and proud in equal measure, their ambition is to be able to move their families out of the slum, ‘and also to become a doctor’.
India was a land of extremes; complex, beautiful, impressive and startling. The only place I have been where you will see a man leading a goat along the highway on a length of frayed string, scrolling through his smartphone with a free hand. And where (below) you find market stalls with the most vibrant and lush fruit and vegetables… alongside a stall selling puppies, packed into bamboo cages. Abhorrent? Or perhaps just a different kind of normal. Certainly food for thought.
Back to the home-front now though, and what promises to be a weekend of sunshine. I’ll be putting the finishing touches to the interior of Harry’s house which I’ve been busy kitting out for a Summer of outdoor living. More next week…