Sep 23/Day 1: We got to the IGL campus (Campus because it not only houses the guests visiting IGL but also the orphanage, schools & nursing college along with regional hospital). They showed me to my room which was surprisingly spacious, and very similar to any college dorm room, cement walls and a room AC unit in the corner. I was told that there was another group there, a company from Kansas that I would meet at dinner, till then I would just walk around. I put all my gear in my room, but because I’m kind of weird about bugs, and they are everywhere, I’d keep my luggage zipped up. The whole trip I never left a bag open, even in my room, which was clean despite a few little ant like things that managed to get in. Before I got settled in I decided to head out and talk to the kids who were running around playing in the courtyard. When I finally got there most of them had run away, but there were two girls who stayed and were drawing in the dirt with sticks. The one in Black was a bit shy, but the one in the Red was ms outgoing. She immediately wanted to hold my camera and started taking pictures. We talked for a few minutes and I got a quick portrait of them, and told them I had to go. They asked if I had chocolate (they love chocolate) and I happened to have some Milano cookies in my camera bag from the flight so I gave it to them, what an easy way to make friends. Then all of a sudden the other kids ran over seeing that I had treats and grabby little hands were everywhere. I didn't have anything left but they stuck around to pose for me and ask me questions.
I decided to go for a walk and went to the wall of the compound (the wall was covered in shards of glass sticking from the cement on the top, a sort of back country barbed wire) and the guard opened the gate and smiled, and I thought, Left or Right. I went right and walked for a bit a quarter mile maybe, and took some nice panorama shots of the surrounding mountains; I was surprised on how big they were. After a bit I came upon a dirt driveway that lead to a house. Now in the US I see dogs in a driveway and either friendly or not I know there’s probably something there to stop it from chasing me. Well in India I guess that isn’t customary. So once the Aww cute puppies started getting closer and barking louder, I began to worry. I started to half walk shuffle jog away further down the road and they kept coming, right up to the edge of their yard. I was there 1hr and already something tried to kill me… After about 15min I snuck back past their driveway and headed to the Left of the gate towards the main road. Once I got closer to the road I saw some goats eating a bush, and like the crazy white American I probably looked like, I stood there and took pictures of goats. I was weary about heading too far from home so I decided to turn around at the next street. Then all of a sudden right behind me I hear a scream, and turn just in time to see a guy dumping what looked like green goo all over his friend. 5 other guys standing nearby started laughing and cheering. I took some pictures of them and their victim and headed back. Kids will be kids. I took a much needed shower and got dressed for dinner. At dinner I met the group from Kansas, a company who had adopted a village and were there for the unveiling of the final building (Kanavai Padur). They would then see the new village that they were adopting, which was a stark comparison (Thideer Kuppam). We chatted for a bit about who they were and why they adopted the village and made small talk, then heard the plans for the next day. I say my goodnights and headed to bed, still feeling a bit jet lagged and lethargic from the unrelenting heat and humidity. I cranked my AC and set my alarm and off I went.