Shovels and hennas and camels, oh my!

For the Shikshangram orphanage group, today was the start of construction for our project.  We first had to meet with the founder and the in-house art teacher/landscaper to combine our ideas for a slide to get from the boys’ building to the girls’ building as well as a safe pathway down the steep hill.  We were very impressed to see that the art teacher had built a 3D model of the hill with the inclusion of Shikshangram’s plans to build a retaining wall and fence surrounding the immediate area.  With this, we were easily able to add our slide from a platform in the centre of the path down to the bottom.  We decided to construct the path from halfway down the hill because it would have been too steep and long to build from the top of the hill.  We ended up running into problems with our budget, but Satish Moon (the founder) was generous enough to provide us with his materials, workers and money that he had already set aside for the completion of the girls’ building to help us build the path.

We spent the day creating an outline on the hill of where we would be placing the stairs, platform and slide. We also cleared up site from garbage and scraps of wood.  Next we searched the site for materials that could be used in a mosaic design on the platform.  We found a bin full of broken tiles that we began washing and sorting into coloured piles.  All of the children loved helping us sort and wash the tiles.

We later had a visit from the dean of the Faculty of Design at OCAD, Gayle Nicoll and her husband.  They came to India to see first hand how our projects were going.  They were very happy with our concept and gave us some great suggestions and ideas as well.

Later, back at the complex, we had a visit from one of the ISAC members’ nieces who gave the OCAD students some beautiful henna tattoos.  After that it was out to the Las Vegas of Malavli, Kinara Village.  There were coloured string lights hung all around the open-concept restaurant, which gave it a warm glow.   The first thing we noticed when walking into the restaurant was that there were a horse and camel available for rides as well as a fortune teller ready to predict our futures.  Complete with a live band and playground, it was a really fun night out.  A big thank you to Gayle and her husband for that treat!


Roadside night

What a week! Friday was much more relaxed as we met with our newly formed groups and began talking about our goals and ideas for the projects. We delegated roles within the groups and began thinking of how we might want to orient ourselves on Monday when we revisit the organizations and perhaps begin interviews. We had beautiful warm weather and were able to lie out in the sun as we discussed our plans. (Maybe got a bit too much sun!) The water was out for most of the day, which was a little frustrating, but I think all of us are really beginning to get used to the fact that that happens all the time.

Later on, we had the treat of our first dinner out with the group at Punjabi Dhaba, roadside restaurant. It was delicious! Some of us were very excited at the opportunity to have meat, as we’ve had a vegetarian diet since our arrival. We ordered naan, butter chicken and the Indian cheese-like substance called paneer. It was my first experience with butter chicken and paneer and I loved it. We also tried a beverage called lassi, which to me tasted like the yogurt drink Yop! (also very good). What made this roadside restaurant really cool was that we were seated on woven beds, complete with a little pillow. It was definitely a new and interesting experience and I think we all had a lot of fun. As a beautiful end to the night, we were able to watch the stars from our beds in the open-concept seating area, as well as the brilliant orange moon. Now we’re all packed up and ready to head off to Mumbai for the weekend!






Name: Kathryn Wong

Major: Illustration

About Me:

I am in my third year of the Illustration program at OCADU.  Before OCAD I went to Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts in Scarborough, and then I did a year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the University of Western Ontario.  When creating my illustrations, I really enjoy working with my hands however I am slowly becoming more open to digital processes.  My favourite pieces are multimedia, where I can explore a variety of patterns and textures.  Apart from illustration, painting is also a huge passion of mine.  When I’m not creating artworks, you’ll find me cuddling my dogs and cat, swimming or finding a new hiking trail to explore.  Can’t wait to see what India brings.   

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