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A non-profit that operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the mission of empowering girls and their communities through education.

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By Cheranne Hack 10 Nov, 2017
It had been 25 years since I was last Tamil Nadu, South East India, as a fresh faced, green behind the ears 22 year old yogini completing my diploma in yoga therapy. My days back then were spent on an ashram so I actually saw very little of this once powerful Dravidian nation and since then Tamil Nadu has become more and more accessible with some wonderful properties opening and the infrastructure of this fascinating state improving beyond measure.

A direct flight to Chennai (Madras) is a joy though the 3 am arrival & 2 hours standing at immigration – an unfortunate coincidence that I arrived at the e-visa desks at the same time as a group of 40 Japanese tourists – is less so. After a quick rest and wash at the Taj Fisherman’s Cove about an hour south from the city it was off to Pondicherry on the South East coast for a couple of days.

Pondicherry has a fascinating French history from colonialism to the “soldars” ((dalits – the untouchable caste) who left Pondicherry to settle in France after partition, the majority joining the French Foreign Legion), temples, catholic churches with bling beyond anything Latin America has to offer, the Sri Auribindo Ashram and Auroville. I spent my time with the wonderful Bishuwajit Banik (Bishu) – a knowledgeable, interesting, quirky and, above all, funny guide who took me around on the back of his Royal Enfield motorbike.

While Pondicherry was first settled in 1674 by the French East India Company it was regularly annexed by both the Dutch and the British but was returned to France in 1814. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s they allowed the French to retain their settlements in the country and even after partition in 1947 the French remained in power in Pondicherry until 1954 and full ratification didn’t happen until 1962.

There is a very obvious European touch to the city’s architecture with some beautiful and elegant examples of Franco-Tamil buildings in the French Quarter but in the Northern Tamil part of town the usual hubbub of stalls, workshops and markets still reigns. Sadly many of the old buildings are in a shocking state of disrepair but still retain much beauty.

The Catholic influence is strong throughout the town and the fabulous Basilica of the Sacred Heart (which was built for low caste Christian worshippers as caste apartheid even in churches existed) is decorated with some wonderfully gaudy murals and icons and even has its own Our Lady of Lourdes miracle corner outside complete with plastic goats and flashing lights. Utterly fantastic.

Not to be outdone on the technicolour interiors the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam Temple, dedicated to Ganesh, is a riot of colours and deities and also has Lakshmi – the blessing elephant. I’m always very dubious about animals being used like this but Lakshmi has been at the Temple for 18 years since she was 3 and seemed quite calm and at ease despite the enormous crowds wanting to give her money and guavas in return for a blessing (Laksmi is the goddess of wealth so I need say no more).
By Cheranne Hack 02 Nov, 2017
Are you guilty of uttering the phrase 'I'm not a morning person'? I am. However, that doesn't have to be the case. It's actually all about mindset. To put this theory to the test, I asked some of the iwork4u Tribe members to share their morning routines and give you tips on how to have a better start to each day...

1. The best morning routines actually start before you go to bed so an evening routine is essential to the sustainable success of a morning routine.. No screens at least 30 mins before bed and put your phone on airplane mode so that when you get up you are not tempted to look at the mass of notifications you have waiting for you . Lay everything out that you will need for your morning routine for example put your running shoes by the front door and put your alarm on top of your running kit so you have to get up to switch off your alarm - this one is a little mean but it works :-) Don't get hung up on the time you get up - if you have worked until later allow yourself to get up a little later to ensure you get enough rest. You will be far less productive if you are tired. It's not about when you get up but HOW you get up. Gratitude - if you really can't face getting out from under the duvet allow yourself to lay there and think of 5 things you are grateful for - doesn't have to be anything grand or 'worthy' and may be as simple as i am truly grateful to have this warm bed! :-) After the gratitudes get up.  Heather Angell, Heather Angell Coaching

2. Don't check your phone before 9am, it will give you some headspace and allow you to focus on the now.   Kat Shayler, Sharpfox Social
By Sali Green 18 Oct, 2017
This week I went for my 2nd appointment at Arnica Dental Care , this time to see the hygienist. I'm happy to say I no longer have anxiety about going to the dentist or hygienist, so for anyone who is slightly or severely phobic, I can assure you that the team at Arnica is very understanding and gentle. Before long you won't have even a flutter of fear about going.

Tips I find useful for anxiety about going to the dentist or hygienist:
1) Don't eat for a couple of hours beforehand - this helps you be able to open your mouth more easily without fear of gagging.
2) Have a calm hour before you go. If you're into meditation, this is perfect for balancing and quieting your mind in preparation.
3) Don't have coffee or other forms of caffeine (these can heighten feelings of anxiety).
4) Rinse often during your treatment, it breaks up the amount of time your mouth is being inspected or your teeth being cleaned.
5) Use 'tapping', otherwise known as EFT, on your fingers during your appointment. (I do mine by pressing into the corner of the fingernails rather than actually tapping the fingers. Let me know if you want a video demonstration of this!) Here's a quick YouTube I found on tapping:

Let me know how you get on!
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