After a great time at Rishi Valley and a wonderful send off from their staff and students we made the long road trip back down to the Bangalore area. To the west of the city we arrived at the Centre for Learning, the smallest of the K schools we'll visit. With a shorter stay their we thought it would be more difficult to connect with everyone, but due to their size and the more intimate organization of the place our students were made right at home. We stayed with students and teachers in a few of their multi-age & coed hostels (dorm like houses that also function as classrooms). Their architecture and the overall campus layout was amazing. The present campus of CFL is about 6 years old. Very well done! Kelly, Laura, and I met with their staff while our students atended classes. We talked at length about the intent of the schools, our experiences as educators, issues related to students and community, and ofcourse the relative financial aspects of running schools and living in the US and India. Oak Grove has a lot to learn from the creative collaboration at CFL. Small is good.
We've spent the last day now on the road west as we make our way to the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary in the state of Kerela.
Yesterday we stopped at a 12th century temple and then got to Mysore, checked in to our 10 $7 rooms and went to the famous Palace here. The king of this state was disposessed of it by the state around 1950 or so. Since then its been open to the public. The original burned down and the current palace was built around 1912. Later we did some shopping and then went out for a wonderful dinner at a multi-cuisine restaurant. Our whole day's experience was eagerly facilitated by the best possible guide, Ashok who does administrative work at CFL. He not only arranged the transportation and lodging here for us, he knew which sites to see, how to communicate clearly to our drivers, how to talk down the vendors and money changers, and generally how to do everything well. I think he saved us 1/2 a day of confusion. Thanks Ashok!!!! He took the midnight bus back to Bangalore. What a guy! We will meet again!
The kids are good....they are looking forward to the Sanctuary and the sleeper cars on the train along the coast back to Chennai. We are under 10 days now until we get back. There will most likely be no net access for the next few days until we return to Chennai.
With love from everyone here in India....