Smitha , one of our Mothakkara guides (all are women), is married to Gireesh, a farmer producing mainly coffee, peppers and bananas, which he sells at the local market. They live together with Gireesh’s mother, just a short walk down from the guest house and Gireesh acts as night watchman there when required. They have three sons and the youngest, Anand, aged 8 (see photo) was keen to speak English and was particularly interested in sneaking into French classes on the weekends and evenings and always greeted me with a cheerful ‘bonjour!’
Prior to becoming a guide, Smitha worked at home taking care of her family.
After attending training she told me that she became more and more curious about meeting people from other cultures and enjoyed learning to speak English. Smitha now supplements her family's income by working as a guide and a cook for Village Ways guests in Mothakkara, southern India.
Her husband is very happy for her to do guiding as the extra income has enabled them to buy books for the children and also to fund an annual school trip to the seaside, which would have been out of their reach previously. Everyone is looking forward to the birth of a new calf and Gireesh plans to sell the surplus milk, beyond the needs of his own family.
With thanks again to our language trainer Katy van Haeften, who provided this story while conducting training in French to the guides of Mothakkara.