In December of 2014, Mazenod College sent its first students and staff to an Oblate Primary school in an Indian village called Tallapudi. It is situated between the cities of Chennai and Hyderabad. It was an amazing experience where the students taught English to boys and girls in the Tallapudi school and also visited parishes in the local community. As part of a commitment to provide opportunities for students to experience the richness of Christian service, Mazenod College is facilitating another immersion experience to India in December 2015.
Not only was the Indian experience an immersion of sights, sounds and smells, it was powerful experience to teach for 5 days in St Eugene’s Primary school in Tallapudi. Tallapudi is a very small rural village characterized by significant poverty but we were all stuck by the community’s happy nature and faith-filled life. Living in a rural setting meant that we were very much immersed in Indian lifestyle and culture. During the inaugural immersion experience last year to Indian communities with an Oblate presence, Mazenod staff and students witnessed the extreme poverty faced by so many people including the absence of basic sanitation and education facilities. Many homes of these wonderful people do not have toilet or shower facilities meaning that these basic human needs that we may take for granted have to be done in the “privacy” of darkness. This becomes even more treacherous during the wet season, as they are now currently experiencing. All of us within the Mazenod community have an opportunity to help these families. One aspect of the MMD fundraising activities is to provide monies to these extremely poor communities to assist the Oblates to build toilet and shower blocks. For every $400 raised, the Oblates are able to build a toilet and shower block for a family home, often consisting of 10 adults and children. As a result of the fundraising efforts from last year’s MMD, money has now been provided to Fr Thomas’ mission in the village of Buttaygudem to build toilet/shower facilities for 10 families and Fr SahayaRaj (the Superior of the Tallapudi mission) is building toilets for the children at St Eugene’s Primary School.
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