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Auroville Adventure

September 2002


Dear family.

by Stephanie


A newcomer describes in a letter her 7 year old son's first encounters with Auroville .


Seeing India through a child's eyes gives a different perspective on this new place where I have landed with Vincent. During the taxi ride from the airport to Auroville, he said: "Mammy, I don't understand the traffic rules here. They drive on the wrong side!" after which he fell asleep. As soon as he got out of the taxi, he immediately started taking pictures of all the insects around the large banyan tree of our new guesthouse. Meeting many strangers who are all speaking different languages was difficult for the shy Vincent. Then luckily he met Theo, who has lunch there every day, and who has an "eternal' supply of "Gummibaerchen', a favorite German sweet, in his pocket. Vincent's first English words were, 'Sweets please', with a grin on his face.

After a two-week stay in the guesthouse, Vincent and I have found a nice room in a private house. It is very close to Transition, the school that Vincent will attend. We can use the kitchen and prepare our own meals. This is a relief because in the guesthouse he hardly ate anything like rice and Indian soups because they were not familiar. There is also a swimming pool here and he has made friends with an 8-year old Indian boy who also lives here in the house. Within a few days he learned to swim on his own.
In the meantime Vincent got a new cycle (much cheaper than in Germany) and has learned to ride around. He has met another newcomer kid, the 6-year old Jorne from Holland, who also just arrived. It immediately clicked between the boys, and often they go to the beach together during the school holidays.

Finally the first school day arrived. He was pretty scared about this, especially as everybody there speaks English. But luckily he already knew two other boys: Jorne, and Chandran, an Australian-German boy, who helps him with translations. He got a school partner, Kareem, who is German and who is always at Vincent's side to explain him everything. The schoolroom looks beautiful, his teacher Nicoletta is very nice, and with a good feeling I left. When I came back at one o'clock to pick him up, he has already eaten in the dining area. It looks like the first school day went well.

The next morning he starts crying before going to school. Only with some promises of a reward could I get him to school. When he comes home, he tells me that school is stupid, or maybe just a bit stupid. But then he tells that pretty soon he will be much better in Tamil and French than me. He enjoys the computer classes and the German lessons, but also the Body Awareness, the arts and crafts, music. In the afternoons he goes to sport. I already notice that I will hardly see my child!

Now a few weeks further on, I see that Vincent is adapting well to his new school.His English is improving, he understands it quite well but is still shy to speak it, and he enjoys his math and computer classes. He has made several friends, saw a huge snake, plays with the big dogs in the house and seems to be a happy 'newcomer' in Auroville.

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