Indian Schools – On a Train Platform or Under a Bridge

INDIAN SCHOOLS ARE CROWDED

After China, India has the biggest population of any country.  The Indian government and parents want all children to be educated, but this is not possible for a number of reasons.  There are more children than schools!

Imagine a country with more children then schools.  Some families are so poor that children have to work, although this is illegal.  Schools are incredibly overcrowded, but to escape poverty and get good jobs in the future, parents and students are willing to suffer this overcrowding.

Train platform schools

Children attend school on train platforms across India

These schools across India help the poorest of children to get an education.  There are over 4,000 students whose classroom is a railway platform.

Under the bridge 

This school is based beneath a very busy road

This school in India  is organised by volunteers for poor children who aren’t enrolled in the school system. It is located in the city of New Delhi and situated beneath an overpass. Volunteers teach children the basics of reading, numeracy (numbers) and English. The school has been going for 10 years and has about 300 students.

So what do you think about these two stories?  Remember that India also has excellent schools that graduate doctors, engineers and other professional people.  India is a country that has rich and poor and those who fit in between.   Make sure that you appreciate school.  And maybe, in the future, you might like to volunteer or help as a professional person in developing countries.

Buddhist Students and the Sacred (Holy) Lotus Plants.

The Buddha with lotus plants

We don’t have to be a follower of the Buddhist religion to learn  about the man called the Buddha and his connection to the Lotus plant.

All religious leaders have used nature to give lessons to humans.

The Buddha was an Indian prince who later became a monk.  Monks, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders spend their lives helping people.

The Buddha was such a kind and happy person that his preaching led to many men joining him as monks.

Buddhist monks

Like Jesus, the Buddha used flowers to give teachings to his followers so that they could become better human beings.

Why Did the Buddha Pick the Lotus Plant?

The Lotus plant grows everywhere in Asia where the Buddha and later his monks travelled: India, Sir Lanka, Thailand, China and Japan (just to mention some Buddhist countries).

The Lotus plant often grows in muddy ponds, lakes and rivers.  It’s roots are in the mud, yet it is able to bloom into a clean and beautiful plant.   The message is that when can start in the mud (bad habits, unkindness, etc) but we can become a beautiful and clean blossom with kindness, good actions, honesty and truth.

The Lotus Plants – Buddhist Symbol

L

The Lotus plants come in many colours.  The Buddha used each colour to remind his followers that each colour should have a meaning in their lives.

A white lotus flower – reminds people to have a pure mind that does not concentrate on hate or doing bad things.

A red lotus flower – reminds people to have compassion (pity) and love in their hearts for everyone.

A blue lotus flower – reminds people to be wise and to think and act carefully.  Our actions always affect ourselves and others.

A pink lotus flower – reminds people to remember the actions and life of the Buddha.  People should read his words and act like he did in his lifetime.

A purple lotus flower – reminds people of their spirit – people are flesh and there is a spirit inside of everyone.  Our bodies die, but our spirits go on to eternity (heaven).

A gold lotus flower is usually found in paintings and statues. Yellow lotus plants can remind people of the gold lotus.  It is total love for God, people and nature.  It means thinking of others before thinking of yourself.  It is a peaceful plant that makes friends.

Buddhist School Children

Buddhist children will have images of the Buddha in their classrooms and probably in the school yard there will be ponds with Lotus growing.

Those of us that are not Buddhists, can look at our own wild flowers – see their colours – and match them to the Buddha’s teachings.   All religions practise a love of God and a love for every person.

The Laughing Buddha in Many Chinese and Thai Restaurants

The Laughing Buddha in Many Chinese and Thai Restaurants

I really enjoy eating Chinese and Thai food.   I have often seen a statue of the “Laughing Buddha” displayed near the entrance.  One day, I asked the owner to explain why so many restaurants have this statue.

She told me that people like to have fun when they go out of their homes to eat in restaurants.  It is important for restaurant owners to know that people are having a good time.  The Laughing Buddha statue often makes visitors laugh when they see it.  It reminds them that our days should be spent having joy and appreciating the good things in our life.

What Good Things?

I asked the restaurant owner what she thought were the good things in our life.  She told me:

  You can see

You can hear

You can talk

You can walk

You have food and a home

You are not in a war zone

She Told Me About the Ant

Most Buddhist parents tell their children about the ant.  It is well-known that the ant has a good attitude.  This attitude allows it to carry many things that are heavier than itself.  When the ant carries something like a grain of rice, this is a great act of courage and determination.  He is the best ant that he can be.  But, when a horse carries a grain of rice, it is not such a great achievement.   Each person can be an ant and do the best that he or she can do.

For students and adults alike, some tasks allow us to be ants.  We pull out ‘all the stops’ and struggle to get things done.  On other days, we meet a new task and it is NOT difficult.  On those days we are horses and if we have compassion and kindness, we can see those ‘ants’ struggling and try to help them.

Pu-Tai – the Laughing Buddhist Monk

Pu-Thai

Each Buddhist monk reflects or lives the way of The Buddha.   The laughing Buddha is not the original Buddha, but the Buddha certainly wanted to make people laugh.  His life was about helping others, being kind and laughing.

Buddhist monks

Pu-Thai was a real person and a Buddhist monk who followed the ways of his master, the Buddha.  He would visit villages in many countries and tell people about the Buddha.  He always brought candy (sweets) and surprises for children.  He liked to laugh.  When he knew he was dying – he called his monks and told them to burn his body.  This was unusual at the time as monks were buried.

When he died, they followed his wishes.  Wow, were they surprised when they set fire to his body – fireworks went out in all directions.

fireworks from a dead monk Pu-Thai

The happy monk had hidden fireworks and rockets in his clothing.  His cremation caused much laughter and those watching knew that he was happy in the next world.

“Return to Pooh Corner” – Lyrics by Kenny Loggins

“Return To Pooh Corner”

Christopher Robin in the 1920s
Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I’ve wandered much further today than I should
And I can’t seem to find my way back to the Woods
So help me if you can
I’ve got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You’d be surprised
There’s so much to be done

Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky

Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh
Winnie the Pooh doesn’t know what to do
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose
He came to me asking help and advice
From here no one knows where he goes

 


So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he’s there
How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear

Christopher Robin’s real house where he grew up as a boy

Help me if you can
I’ve got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one


You’d be surprised
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh

It’s hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all’s said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, I kissed him and as I was going
I swear that the old bear whispered “Boy welcome home”

Believe me if you can
I’ve finally come back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one


What do you know
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin
Back to the ways of Christopher Robin
Back to the days of Pooh

by Kenny Loggins

More Winnie the Pooh Quotes to Inspire Everyone

We can all learn from Winnie-the-Pooh.  Look at the smile as he hugs his friends.  Being kind to others is important.  Don’t forget to look at simple things – butterflies, clouds and enjoy honey.  Always be kind to all creatures – big and small.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”

Piglet: “How do you spell love?”

Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”

“It is hard to be brave, when you’re only a Very Small Animal.

“There’s the South Pole, said Christopher Robin, and I expect there’s an East Pole and a West Pole, though people don’t like talking about them.”

“It’s so much more friendly with two.”

“- What day is it?

– It’s today, – squeaked Piglet.

  • My favorite day, – said Pooh.

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.” 

Baby Elephant Orphans Find Loving Home in Kenya

 

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a home for orphan elephants.

It is located in Kenya, Africa.

The continent of Africa with many countries. Kenya in green is one of Africa’s countries.

Elephant tusks are made of ivory and while getting ivory means killing an elephant, some people still use ivory as jewelery.  While poachers are often killed or put in prison, the huge money for killing elephants for ivory is a chance that poachers take.

The Elephant Orphanage

David Sheldrick lived for many years and rescued elephants and rhinos whose mothers were killed for their tusks.  He is now dead but his wife, Daphne, runs the orphanage.

David Sheldrake
David always had a love for all African wildlife

Dame Daphne Sheldrick

Queen Elizabeth II has honoured Daphne by calling her a “Dame” to put before her first name.  Daphne, like her husband,  has devoted her life to caring for orphaned animals, particularly baby elephants.

Daphne has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth with the title of “Dame”
Dame Daphne

Orphan Elephants

Orphans arrive at the Sheldrick home in a frightened and hungry condition.  They have witnessed humans kill their mothers and so they are frightened and have to learn to trust the kind workers at the Sheldrick orphange.

Little elephants soon learn that these workers are their friends. They get food and blankets to keep them warm. Their keepers often sleep with them to keep them company.

During the day, their keepers also play with them and take them for walks.  The elephant nursery can have babies that are two months to one year old.

Tourists Help

Tourists are welcome for one hour in the morning.  The entrance fee is about $5 USA dollars which is about 4 pounds sterling or 4.50 euros.  This is a very small charge.  Limiting tourists to just one hour makes sure that the babies do not get stressed and it gives the keepers an opportunity to do their other work.

Adopt an Orphan Elephant

A class or school can adopt an elephant for $50 USA dollars. Sometimes, a family can adopt one – that would include grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and brothers and sisters.

A picture of your adopted elephant will go next to the map of Africa

The Sheldrick orphanage also adopts and cares for animals other than elephants.

Face Painting: Lots of Fun for Kids and Adults

Face painting is a lot of fun and here are some ideas.  Always use care when face painting.  Keep your eyes safe and have an adult watch or help.

“Non-Toxic” does not mean “safe for skin.” Acrylic craft paints are not meant to be used on the skin – nor are watercolor markers or pencils.

There are many brands of safe face paint readily available ( Snazaroo, Wolfe Brothers, Fardel, Paradise, Mehron, Kryolan, and Ben Nye).

 

WATER BASED FACE PAINTS

Start with at least the three primary colours: red, yellow, blue, plus a black and white. From these you can mix colours to make other colours.  For example:

red + yellow = orange

red + blue  = purple

Using Sponges are Great for Painting

Brushes often leave streak marks, but sponges get better coverage.  You can cut up sponges to give different effects.

BRUSHES Add Finer Details.

Most people recommend Snazaroo brushes for face painting as they give more control.

BOWL OF WATER

Keep refilling a bowl or bowls of water  to rinse your sponges and brushes.

Glitter comes in gels and dust and are beautiful.  Make sure to keep them out of your eyes.  Use hairbands and clips so that your hair does not have paint on it or glitter. Be clean when using paints – have a small hand towel or paper towels ready to mop up spills.

Not an Artist ?   Use Stencils.  There are also theme packs that on the website of Snazaroo.

Have fun!

 

Kid Karting: This is an Exciting Sport

Kids Who Race Kid Karts.

Perhaps, you are interested in knowing more about Kid Karting.  You may have even seen karts that are designed using 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines.  The word ‘stroke’ is really about how fast the engine runs.  Some karts can travel at 30 to 40 mp/h.

Safety and Good Courses

While dirt-biking is an off road activity, kid karting takes place on an asphalt road.  This is like a normal road that car drive upon.

What are kid karts and what is kid karting? – Kid karts are small versions of racing karts designed for kids aged 5 to 7. They use small 2 stroke or 4 stroke engines that are approx 2HP.  They go anywhere from 30 to 40MPH. Kid Karts race on the same track as any go kart, normally an asphalt road.

If Your Parents are Interested in Kid Karting…..

The first thing that parents do is to bring you to the nearest Kart course.  If you haven’t tried karting before, now is a good opportunity to see if you like it.  You need to be really dedicated as Karts are expensive to buy and to maintain.  There may be fees to be paid if you enter competitions.

 

Styles/Types of Karts

fully body kart

Ther eis the ‘full body” or another type is the  CIK.  This means that your kart will have full body plastic all around the kart.  Full body karts usually have the bigger 4-stroke engines.

The more common style of Kid Kart is CIK.  This is a typical European Kart with plastic pods and bumpers.  All of the hardware is metric.  There are probably 30 different brands of these karts.  They are much more common at sprint karting road coarse tracks.

Engines –

The most common engine is the Comer C50.

Then there is the Hondaengine.

The Big Engine.

Briggs

Finally, a third engine that has gained some popularity is the Briggs LO206.  The Briggs LO206 is an engine that a racer can literally use from when they are in Kid Karts all the way up to when they are adults.

 

Karts – Most parents will want you to get a used kart.  They want to know that you will be fully committed to the sport. A used kart can cost between $500 USA to $1,000 USA.  Then the engine will cost another $500 USA.

Brand Name Karts

Some of the more popular quality karts to look for include TopKart, Birel, Praga, Margay, and Tony Kart.

Sports are Important.

The important thing is to be active in a sport.  It keeps your body fit and it give you the opportunity to meet you friends.

Child Chimney Sweeps – Not SO “Mary Poppins”!

 Chimney Sweeps – Victorian Child Labour

The Older Queen Victoria

I would like to take you back 180 years in time.  The country is Great Britain and a baby girl, named Victoria is born in 1837.  She lived for many years as Queen.

Tough Life for Kids

Kensington Palace where Victoria lived as a child

While Victoria was a young child, she lived in a lovely house with servants.  She had the best education, lovely clothes and had the best medical care if she fell sick.

 

When Victoria was only 2 years of age, children as young of six were being used as chimney sweeps.  The houseowner did not have electricity so coal was used.  After many fires coal dust or soot would collect and start to block the chimney.  It was the job of the chimney sweeps – mostly boys – to go down the chimneys which were very narrow and knock away the soot.

It was a very dirty and dangerous job.  Kids could get stuck.  After climbing up and down several times the chimney sweep boy would have to collect all the soot in the fireplace that had fallen down.  They would work long hours that included Saturdays.  They seldom had clean clothes.  Life was hard for them.

Parliament Makes New Laws

When Victoria was 3 years of age (and not Queen) Parliament made it a law that no one under the age of 21 years could go down chimneys.  Many head chimney sweeps disobeyed the law and in 1875, when Victoria was now Queen, a 12 year old boy died when his boss made him clean a hospital chimney.  Everyone, including the Queen was shocked because she now had children of her own.

Now a new law came out that required all Master Chimney sweeps to register with the police.  More checks were made so that no kids were hired to go down chimneys.

Somewhat Better Lives for Kids

When it was now the law not to send kids down chimneys, their health improved.  Before this new law, kids had lung diseases as the soot entered the lungs.  Some died of cancer of the lungs.

Now, kids had a chance of going to school instead of working.

The long hours that kids worked in the mines, in factories and as young servants were reduced.  However, it took many, many more years until kids were required to go to school full time.  With better education, many kids were able to help their families with higher paying jobs.

Child Labour in Other Countries

Please take your education seriously and do your best.  This will help you in the future.  I just want you to know that there is still child labour in many countries of the world.  You can join a club at school or in your church/synagogue/mosque/temple to help children go to school in these countries.