Nestled down in the South-Eastern tip of India, the black stones greet the waves from the Bay of Bengal as they crash into them on the beaches of Pondicherry.
Between the stones, lay a small sandy refuge, where the children admire the setting sun bathing their faces in a warm glow.
It had all been a big adventure. A day of firsts.
Living in Australia, a land girt by sea, it is difficult to imagine a person living here who has never seen a beach, or ocean, or done something so simple as catching a train. But for the children of The School of Life, today was that day.
On the way, their excitement reached breaking point, their eyes bulging, hungry to see and store lasting visual memories. They could hardly sit still on the train, some shuffling around excitedly marvelling at its mechanics and movement, others sat feeding their eyes the landscape as it whooshed past the windows.
The children and teachers were fortunate to stay close to the beach at a guesthouse which offered low cost accommodation during the off-season. The children enjoyed walking the boardwalk, cooking freshly caught seafood, thrashing about in the water twice a day, and meditation by the beach.
They also got to visit Auroville, the City of Dawn. A place where all men and women can live together in peace and harmony, no matter their creed, colour or race. The Matrimandir, a huge golden dome in the centre of the city, provided wonder of engineering achievement, which the children cherished.
Thoroughly exhausted from a sensory overload, they left Pondicherry to travel home to settle back into school life.
Two months should pass before the next big events, Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan, the brother sister festival. For Raksha Bandhan the the girls made Rakhi to give to their brothers. The boys were unable to return the traditional gesture, not being able to afford to buy their sisters a gift.
Despite the Gangaji rising, sweltering heat and monsoonal rains, the School and the children continue to flourish, smile and delight with the simple opportunities we are providing them.