Monthly Archives: December 2010

santa, christmas trees, jesus and besant road…

Christmas images from the nearest city of Vijayawada (3rd largest city in Andhra Pradesh, pop around 1.7 million): santa, Christmas trees, Jesus and Besant Road…



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gangireddu…

On a photography field trip with the kids in Buddavaram i ran into this itinerant musician and his decorated ox (in telegu – Gangireddu). He plays a tune for a handful of rice or 10 rupees. Am mesmerised and a little horrified by the animal.

To hear the music watch the film below: that’s Daniel, one of my students explaining things to me, and the “mummy, mummy” voice is a village kid, they call all female foreigners and any authority figures “mummy”.  Am well used to it by now…

feeding the 1500…

Christmas day preparations – This is what it takes to feed 1500 round these parts…

1000 orphanage kids, 200 older kids now in college and 300 sundry guests and extras…

Meanwhile in my home, Lusiana Home, the girls go a little christmas crazy…

… and at night the nativity play complete with angels, kings, goats and cows…

how to deal with presents for 1000 children…

OK, so as i have said before the orphanage is split into houses with 30 to 50 kids in each house. We are dealing with presents for Daddy’s Home and Butterfly Hill so that’s around 1000 kids, plus the kids who are at college so that’s another 200… We spread out all the gift possibilities in a big room along with empty boxes labelled with the name of each house, then the “in charge” from each house comes and selects which present is suitable for which child and you label accordingly…

It can sometimes be an organised chaos when a lot of “in charges” appear at the same time, but it works, Laura, who comes from Italy every year to do this job specifically has learned through trial and error how to get things done.

before/after

Also we have to fill a stocking for each child with sweets and novelties…so that is another 1000…At the end of it i felt like i had been in the eye of a hurricane, but it was fun…and humbling. Each kid gets one gift…which is actually enough and they are very good at sharing so its like they get 40 gifts in the end…

There is a very defined split between boys and girls gifts…obvious stuff like barbies vs trucks…but then i was shocked to see all the cool chemistry and electronic kits going to boys…and i must confess i intervened pleading the case that girls would like that too, so i did manage to get some of them into the girls’ homes…hurrah!

italian santa’s in india…

ahh technical problems…first my beloved G1 camera breaks down and then my mac (my life!) however i digress….and life goes on. Surreal is the only way i can describe today, santa arrives from italy (2 days early!), a game man willing to wear the suit and beard for at least 4 hours in 30 very humid degrees. He parades around the orphanage with a sleigh/cart pulled by decorated oxen.

Then he gets his photo taken with all 1000 of the orphanage kids…like i said he is game. He is assisted by elves and the wonderful tumbling boys from this previous post.

I did not ask them to do this, honest!

The kids almost explode with excitement…Popular Christmas songs about snow and reindeer boom from the tannoy system all day…

Then even more surreal…we all follow Santa around the neighbouring village, with our own sound system and Christmas songs ofcourse!

…impossible to take good photos…my camera is very confused with the humidity and the darkness, and i keep nearly getting run over by ox and cart…

and if that were not enough, later we go back around the villages complete with Mary and Joseph (from the nativity play) and sing western and telugu chrismas songs…

happy surreal christmas!!!