Four Vanasthali teachers in St Michel

Illustrated diary (February 20th - April 8th 2006)

Monday, February 20th

Charles de Gaulle Airport, terminal 2A : landing at 8h (in time ) of the plane from Mumbaï.

Anne-Marie and Marie-Noël are then waiting interminably behind these wretched doors...


At last, there is Kalpana ! but without her luggage and... with a policeman !


Yes they are really our guests, you can believe it !

45 minutes later, here is Kalpana again, with her luggage at last


Then Manisha, smiling though not so well...


Then Sunanda and Aparna


We miss noone !

After a lot of traffic jams on the road, St Michel at last, confortably at Anne-Marie’s and Patricia’s :


Tuesday, February 21rst

Our four guests have a first contact with the three schools implied in the project.

Photo AM Dourlat

Photo AM Dourlat Photo AM Dourlat

Photo MN Fraysse

Wednesday, February 22nd

To Paris in the suburb train


The Trocadéro and ... the cold

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A cruise on the river Seine ; outside, the cold is still there !

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In the evening, at Sophie and Christian’s, a meeting cum dinner ... warm, at last !

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Saturday, February 25th

“Fair Trade” stands in the Commercial Gallery with “Artisans du Monde” and “Entr’Inde”

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The beautiful drawings from the schools of Vanasthali

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Excellent, these Indian dishes !

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Not bad, the films and the music !

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Meeting the French teachers again

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Sunday, February 26th

Orsay museum with Anne-Marie

in front of "the woman and the coffee pot" by Paul Cézanne

Tuesday, February 28th

In Nelson Mandela social centre, with the association “Echange de savoirs” (Exchange of knowledge)

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Chaï is good for you !


One speaks Marathi in the Bretigny “cine 220” (cinema) !


The snow was expecting us on the car park ... no photo, unfortunately...

Wednesday, March 1st

The snow is not melt, it’s even thicker this morning. Quick, some photos !

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In the leisure centre of Morsang :

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At Massy Opera :


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Week-end out, March 4th and 5th


In front of the old Finance office, now Tourist office in the cathedral

in front of the Palace of Justice On the Old Market

The oak of Allouville Bellefosse

1200-year-old, 15m round at its base!

our guests in the tree


in front of the "Benedictine" Palace

on the beach on the beach (again)

"Les Ferrières" bungalow

Our guests explained their work with Vanasthali, it was new to many in the assistance

With our friends of Artisans du Monde (Val d'Orge and Fécamp)... ...we saw a film about Vanasthali made in 2004)

and we danced modern... ...and traditionnal dances

About the weather

We had clouds... and sun !

Many thanks to all

first to Jean-Michel, our guide... to  Nikita, our devoted translator (on the left)

and alsoArtisans du Monde Fécamp...

and to Sophie and Christian Lefaure for their excellent dinner that evening !

Monday, March 6th

Florence Laffeta, teacher in Blaise Pascal school, writes : “Manisha and Sunanda are very much appreciated by the children and the adults. Exchanges are really interesting and having them in our classes is a pleasure.” Florence joined some pictures and comments for this diary : thank you, Florence !

To read the comments, move the mouse on the picture

Manisha is an expert in cutting potatoes into stamps

Elephants footprints with Manisha Elephants coming here !!

potatoes, sponges...everithing can become stamps to form drawings with the paint Sunanda teaches origami

Manisha and Sunanda teach us a song (counting rhyme) end of the song

Let us dance now! After all, children in India are very much like us

Nota : for technical reasons, Florence’s comments are made shorter

Wednesday, March 8th

In Morsang sur Orge, at the Leisure Centre

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March, 10th to 12th

Lyon, with Marie-Françoise and her husband

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In the Loire department with Louise and her friends of “Partage sans Frontieres” (share without borders)

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Vanasthali and Entr’Inde are presented, before a gorgious collation. Among the guests, The mayor of Saint Martin la Plaine (left) and the president of “Partage sans Frontières” Partage Sans Frontières (on the right)

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Many thanks to those who have contributed to this excellent week-end’s organisation !

Thanks to Marcelle and Laurent for their pictures.

Tuesday, March 14th

Georges Fournier, Saint-Michel-sur-Orge mayor, invited us for a cocktail in honour of our four guests. He was accompanied by several elected deputies of our town.


Indian and French teachers have presented some of the works made together with the children of Blaise Pascal school.

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The mayor’s speech


Manisha's speech, in the name of the four Indian teachers  some participants to the project

Flowers and the medal of the town are offered

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The medal of the town, a work of Jacki MAUVIEL, a Saint-Michel artist (1974)

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Thanks to the municipal cooking staff who could manage to make a beautiful and vegetarian treat.

Thursday, March 16th

We have always well known that phoning while driving is dangerous. It must be known now that it is just as dangerous while going down stairs. Sunanda experienced this today : the result is a fractured foot. Don’t worry : she got proper care , including medical. You can see on the following pictures that this misfortune is without consequence on Sunanda’s mood, and did not reduce her activities either.

Friday, March 17th

The inhabitants of Saint Michel were invited to share a dinner with our Indian guests and the partners of the project. affiche17mars.jpg

Parents, children, teachers, the director of Lormoy school (where were Kalpana and Aparna), the mayor and even a general Essonne counsellor... and also many friends. Cooking specialities, Indian or not, have been brought by everybody and appreciated... as well as the films about Vanasthali.

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Nursery rhymes and songs followed the meal,

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Then came the dance


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for an admirative public


Children started at it ...

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... so did the adults

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The Indian teachers answered the questions of the public (Marie-Noël translating into English)


And of course, the evening ended with a song !

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Saturday, March 18th

In order to celebrate our Indian teachers, Artisans du Monde Val d’Orge (local Fair Trade Association) have organised an Indian evening in Morsang sur Orge, the main idea being both cultural exchange and solidarity ; it was open to all and it the first such opening towards India initiated here by their association.


The evening started with an Indian story.


A film about a fair Trade organisation in India was shown. Then the teachers explained their own work in India :


Namrata offered some Katak dances

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... and Nisha some Bharatanatyam

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with an Indian meal

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...And both Artisans du Monde and Entr’Inde sold some pieces of handicrafts


All profits will contribute to Vanasthali work of education and rural developpment.

Saturday, 19th March

Today is Manisha’s birthday !

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Monday, March 20th

From today on, we have a wheel chair for Sunanda, lent by Joëlle. It’s going to Help Sunanda in everydays activities.

Aparna, Manisha, Sunanda and Marie

Carole led us through Grigny and its diverse social organisations :

  • The “Minotaure” pre-primary school
  • Farandole association, which she belongs to
  • association “Décider” (help to persons in difficult situation)
  • The “mini laundry” where washing is not the main activity : meetings, sewing.

... in order to discover the actions towards solving the difficulties met by the underprivileged inhabitants.

Kalpana and Carole in "Minotaure" school Sunanda is helping the children

Some workers in "Farandole" Aparna and Kalpana in "Farandole"

Tuesday, March 21st

Our guests learnt a new technic with the association “Echange de Savoirs” in the Nelson Mandele Social Centre in Saint Michel.

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Thursday, march 23rd

Versailles Palace

with Simone and Patricia follow the guide !

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Saturday, March 25th

During the running competition for the school-children ...

with Christine

... they congratulated some of the winners :

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Sunday,March 26th

Lesson in Indian cooking

Making ladoos need some manual hability and experience !

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In the afternoon, with the French and Indian association of Grigny



Monday, March 27th

Aparna et Kalpana gave us a pretty demonstration of “mehndi”, a provisional tatoo with henna

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Tuesday, March 28th

Invited by Carole and her Qi-Gong and Taï-Chi-Chuan course students, our guests have shared their capacities with the students (in Longpont)

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Wednesday, March 29th

Ciné 220, Brétigny : projection of Hathi, a film about elephants and “mahouts”, followed by a debate and an Indian collation (masala tea, ladoos, halva...)

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Thursday, March 30th

Sophie introduced us to the workshop of Bernard BASCHET, an artist of Saint Michel who invented “sound structures” and Francesco Russo, a musician, offered a demonstration and a try. Mrs Baschet joined us for some Indian tea and sweets.

Au centre : Bernard BASCHET Francesco RUSSO

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Saturday, April 1st

Our guest seemed to have been inspired by the date...

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  • paper flowers ...

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  • Indian food ...


  • and modelling with Françoise Pernot.

Françoise PERNOT

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Then, our four Indian guests have been to a show at the local theatre (East Siberian songs in “Espace Marcel Carné)

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Sunday, April 2nd

A visit to the art glassware workshop in Soisy sur Ecole, followed by a visit of Milly la Forêt

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Monday, April 3rd

In the morning, invited by Joëlle, visit of the Palace of Fontainebleau and meeting with the Bretigny students implied in the Timbaud/Fergusson exchange

Fontainebleau palace and is park

In the afternoon, visit of the “lycée” J.P.Timbaud and its main workshop. Among the devices contructed there by the students, a special oven for the treatment of the karite in Mali.

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The afternoon ended with a visit of Arpajon (a neighbouring town)


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Tuesday, April 4th

“An evening in Paris” ...

An ice-cold wind but a warm atmosphere, with Anne-Marie, Françoise, Bernard and Marie-Noël

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Wednesday, April 6th

A feast at Anne-Marie and Henri’s place with all the people implied in the project.


A good ocasion four our guests to wear their best sarees.


After having tasted delicious special dishes ...

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... the evening ended with an informal but fruitful exchange of vews about the experience.


Thursday, April 6th

Guy, director of the school of Lormoy sent beautiful pictures showing Kalpana and Aparna’s excellent work with the French teachers and the good atmosphere that prevailed during this exchange.


Some of them :

Fancy dresses and dances Fancy dresses and dances

Upama, an Indian dish Upama, an Indian dish

Coq made of onion peel Origami

onions used as stamps Mehndi

Nathalie Aparna, Christine, Kalpana and Martine

Annie with Kalpana and Aparna

In the evening, a dinner in an Indian restaurant organised by the school of Lormoy.


Friday, April 7th

School children and teachers wanted to say good bye :

Feast at Lormoy

B. Pascal : Bye bye Manisha and Sunanda !

A message from Florence (teacher in Blaise Pascal school) :

A very moving moment for all, when Manisha and Sunanda came to take leave... ...

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The children gave souvenirs to Manisha and Sunanda : photos, songs, CDs that should allow them to remember and sing with their pupils in India ... as they taught their Indian songs here. The exchange must go on in spite of the distance.

Then the children accompanied Manisha and Sunanda (their “Indian schoolmistress”) up to the main door, forming a guard of honour.

Last photo together Guard of honour

Thanks to the members of the Indian and French associations that gave the occasion for this project which is a success for everyone’s pleasure !

Saturday, April 8th

No traffic jams while going to Roissy Airport this morning.

After checking, a last hot chocolate together :

checking last chocolate

Emotion and tears at parting time ...

but it’s only good bye ! St Michel is the suburb of Puné !

The flight AF 134 started 1h30 late and arrive in Mumbai at 11h50 in the night. Courage, the school for you in India starts as soon as next Monday !

Entr'Inde wants to thank whoever contributed to the success of this venture.

Read Marie-Noël’s word about it : remerciements.pdf

work_experience.txt · Dernière modification: 29/04/2012 12:14