Return to Ramana’s

Return to Ramana’s

I returned to Ramana’s in September and am now taking my first break in five months so thought it was about time I updated everyone on what has been going on. I’ve rewritten this many times as my feelings and reflections change each day. I apologise to the grammar police out there as this is poorly written and is more the random thoughts of a tired mind.

What I have realised is this is a ‘job’ I love, live and breathe. At no point working as an actuary did I talk with passion about my job or have people show an interest in it. I’ve been in Goa for two days and already have people ready to come and join us at Ramana’s because they see how passionate I am about it. The closest I have come to this in my many previous jobs is when I worked as a chef. Then I could talk for hours about fresh ingredients, new and classic recipes and all the drama that working in a kitchen entails. Much like working in a kitchen if you look after your ingredients and realise that every different ingredient needs to be looked after in a different way children are the same. You need to nurture each individual child as no child is the same, no child learns and grows in the same way but every single child deserves to be loved.

People often ask me what being the manager at Ramana’s involves, well it involves the most random list of jobs you could imagine. The ‘typical’ day in the last five months I’ve looked after the children, given tuition in Economics, Art, Maths and English, been to the mountain to check on sick goats, unblocked drains, gardening, swept a chimney, stopped an illegal sewage line being built and stopped a local hotel owners stealing vegetables from our garden. It has had moments of joy and moments of tears and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ve seen kids sick with dengue fever, colds and something I relate to more than anything – acne. I myself was sick for two weeks with hospital visits and six drips to make me better. If it wasn’t for the watchful and strict eye of Prabha and the kids I’d have been much worse. Never before have I had a child send me to bed to take rest or bring me chai at 6.30 every morning. I’ve removed many children’s lice and they’ve removed mine. I may look after the kids but they look after me too, even if I am too stubborn to listen to their advice. The kids are what makes the long days and tiredness all worth while. Sometimes I feel like I’m running on empty but if someone gets sick or upset I instantly forget my tiredness and suddenly the whole world can feel perfect when the kids give you a massive hug.

It is a sign of how amazing these kids are that they’ve persuaded me to sing twice in public (God bless them as my singing is horrendous, Emlie Sande I’m not!). Our kids face many of the same complaints as I did growing up … “I don’t like green vegetables” …. “He won’t let me have a shot of the swing / tennis racquet / game” but there start in life is much harder so is incredible that they overcome these difficult starts and go on to university. Never have I felt so fortunate to grow up in a country with free education, university and healthcare: I’ve been epileptic since a child, in Scotland my medication is 100% free but in India it is £6 per month and university averages £2000 per year in a country where many people earn £40 per month. It makes me very proud to be Scottish that we continue to offer free education, health care and are welcoming refugees to out country.

Anyway enough wittering on, I could write the equivalent of war and peace so will stop now. Hope I’ve given you a flavour of what it is like to be the manager at Ramana’s.

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