“Sometimes all I need
Is the air that I breathe
And to love you”
Written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, and performed by The Hollies
A few days away from this blog has been necessitated by events. Arriving home from India at the weekend, exhausted and afflicted with the all too familiar “Bangalore Bark,” (a persistent cough that seems to have the sole function of extracating two weeks of city gunge from my suffering respiratory system!), my priority was to catch up with my family, and seek some domestic tranquility. The greatest challenge of working away from home for extended periods is certainly being away from loved ones – skype is good, but it has its limitations.
Living in a location surrounded by fields and trees, one of the first things I inevitably notice and appreciate when returning home from working in traffic choked polluted cities, is the good clean air. It arrives in my lungs as a welcome tonic and has an immediate rejuvenating effect. If I could bottle the good clean Northamptonshire country air, and carry it with me on my travels, it would be well worth the cost of excess baggage.The relative quiet of the countryside, disturbed only by birdsong and the wind in the trees is certainly a boon, but it is the rich quality of the air that I appreciate most. Ten minutes of deep breathing in the garden can result in a most pleasant intoxication.
Back on familiar territory, I have the opportunity to reflect on the hospitality and friendship of colleagues and students with whom I have had the privilege to work over the past few weeks in Bangalore. Whilst their lives and experiences differ greatly from my own, we have engaged in a common purpose, and share in the same ambitions of creating improved learning opportunities for children and teachers. As has been the case on all my previous visits, I have returned home with new learning and continue to make slow progress towards understanding the complex challenges that my Indian friends face in their day to day teaching lives. Their persistence and determination to do well for their students, fills me with admiration.
I look forward to returning to Bangalore to work with these respected colleagues in September, and to sharing again in this educational journey. I wonder how much easier their work might be if they could breathe some of this lovely Northamptonshire air? I’ll take a can or two with me on my next trip!