Day 2: The Adventure of Simplicity – India 2

I am writing this in a home, a comfortable home compared to most here, as the sun rises and streams through the window slightly tamed by the wood battened blinds.  This is our AirBNB accommodation during our stay, found in the back allies of Chetput, central Chennai (formerly known as Madras) and the capital city of Tamil Nadu in India.

This city has population of over 8 million people, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal.  This is a growing city because it is the largest cultural, economic and educational centre in South India.

The main purpose of our visit is to meet the women of India, and the projects and organisations that champion and provide options for women to ‘make their way’ to a better quality of life for their family.

We have met so many women;

women who live on the pavement;

women who live on the pavement;

women who live in the slums;

women who live in their new found little shanties;

women who live in solid-walled homes;

women who work through the night at the markets;

women who have built their own little business;

and women who have much – socialites and social workers who are wanting to bring change to their people and nation.

The women have been delightful wherever we go and the conversations have been full, funny and hopeful, but there is one simple thing that is never a surprise for me when I travel to other lands and that is…


No matter where I go in this world, a woman can connect warmly with another woman very quickly by warm eyes, a smile or a light touch – if we choose.

There is a secret understanding that we are one tribe, a tribe called ‘WOMAN’.

We can cross cultural and economic boundaries, boundaries of place and position so easily with another woman and it is always beautiful.
In India, I only have to fix with my eyes, place my hands in prayer-pose and smile to a woman, and we will soon be holding hands as we stroll through allies of the slum.  It is an absolute beauty in the midst of disarray and disadvantage where for a moment, the challenges and struggles of life fade, as we find a new friend and ally, a sister.

Let’s choose to connect in the simplest of ways with women… we are WOMAN.


About Penny

Penny was born in England, raised in New Zealand, lived in America and settled in Perth, Australia. Together with her husband Mark, she is raising a teenage daughter and has twin twenty-something sons. "Coming home at the end of a solid working day to family and friends is my delight" says Penny, Co-author of the book – She’s Not Your Competition. She is a heart-felt communicator who believes in the power of a person’s story. Penny has over 25 years experience as a high level leader and spokesperson in both the private and non-profit sectors with significant public relations experience. She is currently the CEO of South Coastal Women's Health Services, and prior on the Leadership Teams of Rise Network and Riverview supporting people in areas of mental health, domestic and family violence, and children overseas at risk of exploitation. She holds an MBA and MBL, and is a Board Director for the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia. For the past 15 years she has provided pro-bono support as a mentor for leaders and consultant to not for profits. Penny’s personal life endeavour is a determination to "make life better not bitter".

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