This morning, we left the hotel at 7 o’clock and headed towards The Sundarbans - a mangrove swamp south of Kolkata. We were on the coach for 5 hours but were able to see how the city changes as you travel out to the country. We saw children washing in the pond outside their school, goats being herded along the road and lots of markets selling everything from lightbulbs to second hand bike tyres.
When we arrived we walked along a lane towards the boat. We were lucky enough to see some monkeys in the trees - Mrs Wyer even spotted one with a baby. Further along the lane, we popped in to visit the tiger rescue centre, who rescue disoriented tigers from local villages and help them return to the wild. As well as a rescued Bengal tiger, we also managed to see three crocodiles!
At the end of the lane was a pontoon where we boarded a boat to travel to Arpan Mahila Samity school which can only be reached by boat between October and March, so we were very privileged to be able to visit. After travelling for about an hour, we pulled up at the bank. We climbed up the clay bank and into the mangrove swamp.
After a short trek we arrived at the village and were blown away by the tranquility and beauty. The children welcomed us to the school by throwing petals and we met with all the teachers and village elders. They were so excited to have visitors and shared how they were growing as a school and becoming a community hub. You could tell the building supported everyone - from the young boys playing cricket after school to the elders being able to meet up centrally.
It was a privilege and pleasure to see how CRS are able to run such amazing projects in rural areas.
On the trek back, we spotted a snake swimming in one of the paddy fields!