Marguerite Barankitse receives first $1m Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity

first_img  53 total views,  1 views today Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney has presented the inaugural $1 million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity to Marguerite Barankitse at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia. She was recognised for her work in saving thousands of lives and caring for orphans and refugees during the years of civil war in Burundi. The prize will also benefit other organisations. Barankitse will receive a $100,000 grant but also continue the cycle of giving by donating the accompanying $1,000,000 award to organisations that have inspired her work.She plans to divide this sum in gifts to three organisations that advance aid and rehabilitation for child refugees and orphans, and fight against child poverty:the Fondation du Grand-Duc et de La Grande-Duchesse du LuxembourgFondation Jean-François Peterbroeck (JFP Foundation)Fondation Bridderlech Deelen Luxembourg. Tagged with: Awards Howard Lake | 25 April 2016 | News Marguerite Barankitse receives first $1m Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity Mr Clooney, Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, said:“Marguerite Barankitse serves as a reminder of the impact that one person can have even when encountering seemingly insurmountable persecution and injustice. By recognizing Marguerite Barankitse’s courage, commitment and sacrifice, I am hopeful that she can also inspire each one of us to think about what we can do to stand up on behalf of those whose rights are abused and are in most need of our solidarity or support.”Saving lives in BurundiWhen war broke out in Burundi, Barankitse, a Tutsi, tried to hide 72 of her closest Hutu neighbors to keep them safe from persecution. They were discovered and executed, whilst Barankitse was forced to watch. In response to this, she started her work saving and caring for children and refugees. She has saved roughly 30,000 children and in 2008, she opened the Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital which has treated more than 80,000 patients to date.Three finalistsGuests at the award ceremony also celebrated the achievements of the other three finalists for the Aurora Prize:Dr. Tom Catena, from Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan;Syeda Ghulam Fatima, the General Secretary of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front in Pakistan;Father Bernard Kinvi, a Catholic Priest in Bossemptele, Central African Republic (CAR).On the occasion of the inaugural Aurora Prize Ceremony, these humanitarians were each presented with a $25,000 award from the Aurora Prize co-founders to support the organisations that have inspired their work.The Aurora Prize Selection Committee includes Nobel Laureates Elie Wiesel, Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former Australian Foreign Minister and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian; and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney.The Aurora Prize will be awarded annually on April 24 in Yerevan, Armenia. Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0000:0001:03 Download related content AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis  54 total views,  2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis She explained her choice:“I chose them because these people supported me and never abandoned me, even in difficult times. They have the same values as me and as the Maison Shalom – compassion, friendliness, dignity, and a generosity which costs nothing.” Advertisement About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Researching massive growth in giving.last_img read more

Motivating force

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. In the war for talent, managers have to keep an even closer eye on staff morale and motivation. Here we look at how four organisations view the subject and what measures they take to monitor and improve levels in their workforce. By Peter FargusAn organisation may be resized, delayered and re-engineered, but its competitive edge always relies upon the competency and creativity of its people ñ that and their motivation to apply themselves in support of their organisation’s goals.It is because of this critical competitive edge that leading organisations are looking to confirm and measure key influences on motivation which affect people’s performance. By establishing reliable measures they put themselves in the position of being able to monitor the effects of improvement action within their organisations.Experience shows that motivating people on a continuous basis is not easy in this rapidly changing world. Some of the factors that managers in one multinational oil company sees as influencing the way it needs to motivate people are:More complex problems that require better cooperation between teamsGreater emphasis on respecting individual differencesMore pressure to achieve difficult objectives on timeBetter educated employeesHigher standards of living which bring higher expectationsDemand for flexible working patternsMedical advances that enable people to work productively to a greater ageThe availability of communication technology which is resulting in increased understanding of what is happening worldwideNew levels of political democracy and transparency worldwide The growing tendency of businesses to face reorganisation.Because of these changing circumstances it is becoming more important to ensure senior managers regularly monitor the motivation within organisations and take the necessary action to nurture it.Improving your business through your peopleThe actions taken by such leading companies provide valuable guidelines on what needs to be done to augment the traditional measures of motivation, such as days lost through strikes, sickness and accidents. These still have their place, but the emphasis now is towards:Finding out what issues are current in the minds of employeesCreating instruments which provide a measure of opinionUsing instruments to track motivationTaking action as a result of their findings Linking the actions with the annual planning cycleBut does this emphasis on involving people in identifying organisation problems and initiating improvement activities really work? Intuitively it seems right, and it would be unusual for commercially oriented business organisations to invest so much time and effort into measuring motivation if they do not believe a tangible business benefit will emerge. But is there any real proof that it works?Although it is difficult to establish research that, in effect, isolates the “people factor” from all the others that affect business performance, the Sheffield Effectiveness Programme, the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) research and the Imada Loss Prevention Programme provide strong pointers.The Sheffield Effectiveness ProgrammeThis found people management practices had the greatest effect on productivity and profitability. Work carried out jointly by the Institute of Work Psychology (University of Sheffield) and the Centre for Economic Performance (London School of Economics) over the past 10 years points strongly to a causal linkage between employee motivation and business profitably/productivity.The study made every effort to compare similar organisations and was rigorously designed to isolate the impact of people on business performance. It concluded that, when comparing five commonly used managerial practices, one stood out as accounting for the largest variation in business performance.The researchers calculated the change in company productivity and profitability accounted for by the use of business strategy, emphasis on quality, use of advanced manufacturing technology, use of research and development and people management. The results indicated very different percentage variations associated with each activity. It can be seen that people management practices have by far the greatest impact on productivity and profitability. The researchers concluded that senior managers should monitor the satisfaction and commitment of employees on a regular basis using standardised surveys, and organisational changes should be made as necessary to promote job satisfaction and employee commitment.The Institute for Employment Studies Research found better people management increased productivity and sales. The IES has carried out two pieces of research which support the proposition that a motivated workforce affects business results. The first research, commissioned by Focus Central London, looked at the impact of implementing Investors in People within central London. The second looked at the impact of employee commitment on retail sales.Investors in People is a government-backed business standard which helps organisations harness their employees towards meeting business goals. In the past it has been focused primarily on training, but the new standard (introduced last April) is more broadly based, and early indications suggest it will be even more successful than earlier versions.As shown in panel below, the research indicates a link between the implementation of the standard, better people management practices and increased productivity and customer satisfaction.The researchers also found that the more an organisation had to do to achieve the standard, the greater the reported positive effect on business performance.From People to Profits follows the IES’ research into the relationship between employee commitment and retail sales in a major retailer. The researchers correlated measures of employee loyalty, pride and sense of ownership with sales performance data collected over two years. The results indicated a link between employee commitment and changes in sales.Imada Loss-Prevention ProgrammeThe Imada programme cut costs by 30 per cent and provides another example of how involving people in solving a business problem can affect the bottom line. In this case work carried out in the transportation division of a US-based multinational petroleum manufacturing organisation focused on the cost of lost days due to injury.Over a 12-month period, the (already poor) industrial injury frequency had doubled and lost work days quadrupled. The organisation’s management decided to examine the issues in the context of the way the organisation operated as a whole.By carrying out an organisation assessment and subsequently helping to harness the interests and abilities of staff, management succeeded in reducing lost working days from 1,368 to 42 a year within five years and cutting delivery costs from 2.3 cents to 1.62 cents a gallon over 10 years. This latter figure represents a 30 per cent cost saving per gallon of over 2.2 billion gallons a year.Some of the management practices Imada recommended for improvement are:Increased control by employees over their workEmployee participation in the recruitment and selection processStaff involvement in workplace and equipment designChanges to the purchasing of equipmentUse of experienced employees as trainersBetter information sharing and feedbackImproved communication between teamsAdditional non-technical skills training Use of focused performance measuresMost are related to good management of people. A summary of the resulting changes is given below. These three pieces of work do not necessarily provide conclusive evidence of the linkage between employee motivation and business results. Other research projects have failed to identify a correlation. There is enough to support the view that investing in good HR management practices can generate significant benefits ñ but organisations cannot afford to make a half-hearted attempt on this front.Case study 1TO BE EMPLOYER OF CHOICEIn order to become the dominant consulting firm in the world, one of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ strategic objectives is to become the “employer of choice”. The firm aims to attract the best candidates from all walks of life and retain them long enough to develop their potential to the maximum.This is not an altruistic approach. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global clients expect the best, and if the best is not available, they will look elsewhere. Consequently the ability to attract and retain top-quality consultants is critical to the maintenance of a top-quality client base.Furthermore, high staff turnover impacts significantly on the bottom line. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the cost of employing a new member of staff is between 160 to 180 per cent of salary. Consequently, in a global professional services firm, a relatively small improvement in staff retention reduces the cost of staffing by millions of dollars.For this reason, senior partners have invested significant amounts of time in defining the way the firm should do business. Their deliberations have been aimed at surfacing deeply-felt business principles that appeal to experienced consultants and top graduates alike.As part of its people strategy, PwC designed a measuring instrument called People Survey, aimed at providing staff with a “voice at the table”. It emphasises the business principles of PwC’s consultancy division, MCS, and also enables all staff to regularly highlight where things are going right and where they need to be improved. Case study 2TO BE A GREAT PLACE TO WORKThe goal of BT’s Multinational Sales and Services was to be the most successful service company meeting the communication needs of global customers. To achieve this, it relies on the outstanding commitment and motivation of all MNS&S employees and on being able to attract and retain talented people with scarce skills. For this reason it ran a programme of initiatives called “A Great Place To Work” in which: Professional expertise is valuedLearning is encouragedEveryone is able to give their bestEmployees share and build on each other’s ideas People look forward to coming to work.To the senior management team, “a great place to work” meant developing an environment where self-motivation could take root and flourish. In order to build on previous initiatives, the team created an instrument that would measure how people felt and where resources needed to be focused in the future.The team supplemented the regular BT surveys with an instrument that specifically measured the characteristics of the Great Place to Work programme. The resulting questionnaire helped identify what activities needed to be put in place to make the initiative successful and how those activities should be implemented.Case study 3TO ENABLE PEOPLE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCEAirtours wants to be the UK’s preferred holiday company by leading the way in quality, value and service. Its people are vital to this success, none more so than those with customer-facing roles throughout the world. The demands of today’s holidaymakers require motivated people who take the initiative and work well as a team.Airtours created a measuring instrument to solicit staff’s views on those actions that affected its customers positively, what could be improved and how people felt about working for the company. It is one activity aimed at enabling its employees to make a difference.Case study 4TO LISTEN, LEARN AND WIN TOGETHERElida Fabergé, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, is the largest producer of branded health and beauty products in the UK. The company has always aimed to satisfy the needs of customers (retail outlets) and consumers (users of its products) better than its competitors.It chose the business excellence model promoted by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and the British Quality Foundation (BQF). Contact the author at [email protected] READER OFFERThis is an edited extract of Measuring and Improving Employee Motivation by Peter Fargus and published by Financial Times/Prentice Hall, an imprint of Pearson Education, £75. You can order it at at 15 per cent discount Motivating forceOn 16 Jan 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Child Mortality Improves in Indiana According to DCS Report

first_imgComments0 commentsFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Child Mortality Improves in Indiana According to DCS ReportSEPTEMBER 19TH, 2018 TYRONE MORRIS INDIANAThe Indiana Department of Child Services released the latest information about how many children died in 2016. According to the report, 59 Indiana children died from abuse or neglect.Despite that heart-breaking number, it’s actually an improvement from the two previous years. Marion County saw the highest number of child deaths at 14. According to DCS, only nine of the 59 had contact with the agency.Wednesday, DCS officials appeared before lawmaker testifying on a set of recommendations to make the agency better as lawmakers work to find the best solution.DCS Associate Todd Meyer says, “We are obviously going to respond as immediately and quickly as possible. You can rest assured that will happen.”Right now, lawmakers say their biggest goal is turning these conversations into legislation and new state laws. TwitterFacebooklast_img read more

BBC seeks Northern Ireland’s best bakery

first_imgThe BBC is searching for Northern Ireland’s best bakery for its Good Food Show, part of Bread and Baking, which is part of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.The winner will receive a free stand at the BBC Good Food Show at Belfast Waterfront (14–16 October) to showcase their produce and the opportunity to meet local celebrity chef Paul Rankin.Publishing director at BBC Worldwide Chris Kerwin said: “With a strong emphasis on local produce, local talent and the Belfast Waterfront as its backdrop, the BBC Good Food Show Northern Ireland is set to be an unmissable event for any foodie’s diary.”Bakeries should record a short video, maximum two minutes long, capturing “a day in the life of the bakery” and highlighting the stages of a typical baking day.It should then be uploaded to social media, using @BBCGoodFoodShow, @NITouristBoard and the hashtag #GFSNIBakery.Deadline for all entries is 5 September.last_img read more

Phoenix, Doyen partner for state of the art academy

first_imgOfficials of one of the world’s foremost sports investment agencies, Doyen Sports Group, and Arsenal Football Club are expected to sign an agreement with the Phoenix All-Star Academy this afternoon in Kingston.The deal, which is being hailed by Phoenix co-founder Craig Butler as a major development for Jamaican football, will see the agency, which, among other ventures, manages the certain affairs for some of the planet’s leading footballers, partner with Phoenix in the establishment of a state-of-the-art football academy just outside of Montego Bay, as well as prepare, market and place talent from the club into the European market.Doyen’s website lists names such as Neymar, Radamel Falcao, Mangala, Alvaro Morata, Alvaro Negredo, and Marcos Rojo, but does not outline the nature of their involvement with the players.The group is considered to be an investment-based organisation that facilitates player transfers.Phoenix already has several players on overseas contracts, with Belgium-based Leon Bailey, who is already in the Genk first team, and Kyle Butler, both doing well. But Craig Butler is confident that this partnership will create opportunities for more players and open another avenue to the international markets.”This partnership between Phoenix Academy and Doyen has many positives. They will partner with us in the building of an academy in Trelawny, as well as the marketing and placement of players in Europe,” Butler told The Gleaner ahead of today’s signing, which is scheduled to take place at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.”Phoenix have done extremely well over the years in terms of our standard of developing players in technical, tactical and personal development. We are creating players that are ready for the European market,” Butler added, while referring to Arsenal’s interest.”Leon (Bailey), at 18 years old, is already one of the best players in Belgium, and is already in the first team there. Kyle is also doing well and should be in the first team soon.”Arsenal have taken note of that and want to come and take a look and see what our other players are about,” added Butler.”This is huge for the country. I still believe that with development, Jamaica can become one of the teams that challenge for World Cups, not just strive to participate and make up numbers,” Butler said.Butler also underlined that a 14-acre property has already been secured by Phoenix All-Star Academy and will be developed to accommodate a full academy, in collaboration with Doyen Sports.last_img read more

Jean Barton: The early days of the Hereford Sale

first_img“Ever-growing Red Bluff Bull Sale, Bigger than ever this year,” by Donald M. Smith, county agent. Red Bluff Daily News — Hereford Sale Section – 1946.In the summer of 1941 a group of Tehama county commercial cattle operators determined that a sale of Hereford bulls might be held at the fairgrounds at Red bluff where ample shed and sale facilities were available.It was the opinion of the group that Red Bluff was advantageously located for such a sale, being virtually the hub of one of the …last_img

Humboldt State softball rallies in game two to pick up doubleheader split against Chico State

first_imgMcKinleyville >> Following a 2-0 loss to its arch-rivals in the opening game of Monday’s California Collegiate Athletic Association doubleheader, the Humboldt State softball team’s dugout was quiet as can be.HSU head coach Shelli Sarchett simply had one question for her team.“I kind of asked the team ‘Are you guys scared? Because you’re playing like it, you’re swinging like it,’” Sarchett recalled.With a stern talking to from their coach, the Jacks found a way to respond. What was …last_img

Cavaliers execs reject Irving trade talk, deny team in chaos

first_imgNew Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman, left, listens as Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert answers questions about Cavalier player Kyrie Irving’s demand to be traded, during a news conference at the Cavaliers training facility in Independence, Ohio, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Phil Long)INDEPENDENCE, OHIO—Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert spent more than 30 minutes presenting a positive portrait of his franchise.The reality is that the Cavs are troubled.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet In his first public comments since Kyrie Irving asked to be traded, Gilbert would not confirm whether he’ll honor the All-Star point guard’s request, but he also didn’t rule out the real possibility that Cleveland may deal its second best player — or if he thinks LeBron James will stay around beyond next season.“These things are fluid,” Gilbert said. “We think that Kyrie Irving is one of the best guards in the NBA. He was part of a championship, three years straight to the Finals and we value his talent — significantly.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsDespite several direct questions about Irving’s status, Gilbert would not provide any specifics about recent conversations with him or his agent. Gilbert said he expected the 25-year-old, whose jumper in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals propelled Cleveland to its first championship since the Browns in 1964, to be at training camp with the team in September.“Right now Kyrie Irving is under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two or three years, depending on the last year,” Gilbert said. “As of now he’s one of our best players and sure, we expect him to be in camp.” LATEST STORIES Gilbert was clearly attempting to avoid making things worse for the Cavs or doing any further damage to the club’s relationship with Irving, who has blossomed into the one of the league’s best backcourt players.While Irving may want out, the Cavs aren’t obligated to move him and new general manager Koby Altman said Irving remains an important piece for a team that has been to three straight Finals.“He’s a core piece of what we’ve done,” said Altman, who was promoted to full-time GM after filling in when David Griffin left earlier this summer. “Kyrie is a tremendous player. He has made great contributions to this franchise and we enjoy him as a player. We’re going to keep this stuff in house in terms of what was said in those meetings, but he continues to be a core piece of who we are and what we do.”It’s been turbulent summer for the Cavs, who didn’t defend their title and were beaten in five games by Golden State in the Finals. The bumpy ride began with Griffin parting ways with the club over philosophical differences with Gilbert, who was then rebuffed in adding former Pistons guard Chauncey Billups to his front office.And while numerous teams got stronger via free agency and trades, Cleveland was hamstrung financially by salary-cap issues.ADVERTISEMENT Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes That could change next summer when James can opt out of his contract and hit the free-agent market.For now, though, Gilbert and Altman said the three-time champion is invested in the Cavaliers.“LeBron remains deeply committed to this organization,” Altman said. “He remains deeply committed to this team and deeply committed to this city. He has deep roots to this city. And it means a lot to him to be here and compete for championships for years to come. That’s his goal, and so we have shared goals.”Gilbert paused for a moment before addressing James’ future beyond 2017-18.“That hunger is as strong as I’ve ever seen,” Gilbert said. “I think beyond this season I don’t know, we’re focused on this season.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Then, the Irving trade demand was a cannonball in Gilbert’s backyard basketball pool.“Well, how is your guys’ summer going?” Gilbert quipped in a light-hearted moment.Beyond its implications with the Cavs, Irving’s appeal to be traded appears to have damaged his relationship with James. The stars have taken swipes at each other with posts on social media , and it remains to be seen if they can patch things up.Altman dismissed any Irving-James rift.“I think a lot of it has been overblown,” he said. “I think the people who are in this building every day haven’t seen any of that animosity. This is, along with Kevin Love, this is a group that got us to three straight Finals and won an NBA championship together. They play great together on the floor and a lot of that I do think is overblown.”Gilbert opened the news conference by introducing other members of Cleveland’s front office, which was reconfigured following Griffin’s departure last month. He then had high praise for Altman, who in the past few weeks has done all he could to bolster an aging Cleveland bench that was exposed by the Warriors.Altman also signed free agent guard Derrick Rose, who could be an option to start if the Cavs can’t work things out with Irving.“We signed him on my first official day on the job, so that’s not a bad start, right?” Altman said of the 28-year-old Rose, a former league MVP.Truth is, things may not be as bad for the Cavaliers as has been suggested.In James, the Cavs still have the game’s best all-around player and Cleveland remains the Eastern Conference’s elite team despite Boston’s acquisition of Gordon Hayward. The Cavs may not have closed the gap on the Warriors, but there isn’t anyone on their heels — yet. Daniel Cormier’s rivalry with Jon Jones peaks at UFC 214 Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Finding Dhanachuli

first_imgA summer house transforms into a boutique resort on the hills of Dhanachuli, an unfrequented village that seduces you with an unhurried pace of life, moments of solitude and abundant sunshine. Text by Aditi SenGupta; photographs by Subhojit PaulLittle Miss Sunshine. The Hollywood drama from the last decade occupies a special place in my humble collection and is a surefire recipe for turning your mood from murderous to happy and even generous. But my mood is not dark as I stand on a white deck facing a valley dressed in various shades of green. It’s the sun, in fact, that brings to mind the laughter-filled movie and I quickly borrow the title (barring the word ‘little’ of course) for myself. I feel every bit of a Miss Sunshine as I enjoy the warmth of an early May morning up in the hills of Dhanachuli, a near unheard-of village near Mukteshwar. The sunshine spreads across the valley as smoothly as butter on a hot toast, allowing me an unparalleled view of the densely forested slopes and a glimpse of Himalayan peaks behind them.The geometry of the entire picture before my eyes fascinates me. At one level I find the hills. Small stone houses in the surrounding villages punctuate the heavy greenness, columns of smoke from their chimneys adding a vertical dimension of sorts. The vegetation, too, follows a pattern I find most intriguing. The arrangement of oak and cedar trees, not to forget the many varieties I don’t know the names of, reminds me of the Mexican wave. Stacked behind the hills–coming to the next level of natural geometry–are the majestic peaks, sporting signs of winter. The view of the peaks, notwithstanding the abundant sunshine, is sadly unclear. Through the haze, I manage a glimpse of the fabled Nanda Devi peak as well as the Panchachuli.I indulge my newfound interest in geometry with a tour of Te Aroha, a boutique resort in Dhanachuli that is less than two months old. It’s my home for the weekend and also the reason to drive into this village that most tourist maps of Uttarakhand don’t show. For those following the tried-and-tested circuits, the journey ends at Bhimtal, about 30 km below Dhanachuli.Only a few of those who drive up to Mukteshwar, the other well-known neighbour, make a detour to Dhanachuli. It was one such detour that led to the birth of Te Aroha, which means ‘a place of love’ in the language of Maoris. Sumant Batra’s summer house, built 12 years ago after he fell in love with the little village, is now a resort with 10 rooms and suites.I start from Level One. Going up a flight of wide wooden stairs, I am instantly attracted by the yellow roofing. The sloping roofs are arranged at different levels, giving, once again, a strange beauty to the planned haphazardness. My first stop is the reception, a wood-and-glass structure where everyone is greeted with a glass of rhododendron juice. Continuing the walk up to the resort, I stop to admire the little birdhouses at the landscaped gardens. The grass is just sprouting and several wild blooms have begun to make an appearance. A patch has been devoted to fruit trees, with the aim of wooing back the birds who flew away during the construction. And I am delighted to see the sparrow, a bird that I haven’t seen in the city for years now.The spacious lobby at Te Aroha transports you to the colonial era. A fireplace, piano, a cosy poker room on the side… everything put together runs high on nostalgia. On my way to the sunny, cheerful restaurant–a glasshouse with two trees in the middle–I get distracted by a door on the left. It reads “Three Steps Down”. Quite literally three steps down I go and find myself in the prettiest of suites. Hints of purple blend beautifully in the cosy bedroom with a white, very French-looking bed. Facing the bed is a French window that is almost twice my height. A tea table and a couple of chairs on the deck complete the picture of indolence. The other rooms and suites, too, are alluring but Three Steps Down bowls me three times over. Onward to the restaurant, I am drawn to a flight of stairs that goes down to a spacious room. There is nothing much here other than a low table and two benches one of which, interestingly, comes from the Parliament in Delhi. This is where I come for a glass or two of red wine in the evenings followed by sumptuous meals of Kumaoni Palak, Mutton Stew and Fowl Curry.The new wing of the summer house is one level higher, the best part of which is what the owner calls The Attic. It is what I would call a combo of a library and a recreation room. It is the kind of place where you can sit for hours and do just nothing. The Attic deserves at least one lazy afternoon but I have none to spare on this trip. Sunset beckons me to a hilltop behind Te Aroha and I prepare for the climb by getting my forty winks. The drama in the sky takes a backseat as a bevy of village lasses catch our attention. Each of them has stunning features and obliges my camera-wielding friend with smiles that could make any toothpaste company hunt them down for brand endorsements. I return with the promise of catching up with the girls next morning at the jungle. Bedtime comes early, simultaneously with thunder, lightning and rain. The temperature drop brings out the jacket and woollen socks. I literally climb to the bed, thanks to a footstool, and sink into a cocoon of quilts. Interestingly, I am in a room named Morning Sun–a complete mismatch for a night owl like me.A firm knock on the door at 5 a.m. and I jump out of bed to keep my date. Fit-as-fiddle Vinod leads the way as our group of four takes to a jungle path that villagers use for collecting firewood. The walk is simple and within 45 minutes we are out in the open. Sunlight filters through a canopy of tall, moss-laden trees and it becomes warm enough for me to get out of my heavy jacket. The village girls, however, are nowhere in sight. Ah well. It’s not the first time I have been stood up on a date.Hot poori bhaji for breakfast helps me banish regrets of the failed meeting to a corner of the mind. I spend the last two hours at Te Aroha lolling on the deck. I watch the hills change colour with the slow movement of the clouds. A ride through the congested towns of Uttar Pradesh is only a few minutes away but I am far from done with Dhanachuli. A trip to this small but once prosperous village (some say the name comes from the words ‘dhan’ as in wealth and ‘chulha’ or the hearth) is a lesson in getting everything out of nothing.advertisementadvertisementAt a glanceGetting there: The most convenient way to get to Dhanachuli from Delhi is to take an overnight train to Kathgodam, 90 minutes from the village. By road, Dhanachuli is 7-8 hours from Delhi. Start at the crack of dawn to avoid nightmarish traffic at Rampur.When to go: This is a year-round destination. The best mountain views, however, can be enjoyed in winter.Must doStay: Te Aroha, Dhanachuli Bend, District Nainital; tel: (05942) 214 377, (0) 87550 80735; www.tearoha.inEat: Kumaoni fare at the Te Aroha restaurant. Request the chef for mutton stew and rotis made from the locally grown atta.Shop: Apricot preserve and orange marmalade from NGO-run shops.See: Spend a day at Bhimtal, 30 km from below Dhanachuli.FYIOff to Mukteshwar: About 12 km from Dhanachuli is Mukteshwar, which is famous for its Shiva Temple. Set on the highest point in town, the temple is architecturally insignificant. What is interesting is a path at the base of the temple’s steps.  advertisementIt leads you to a rocky outcrop with some beautiful rock formations. It requires some nerve to climb up and peek over any of the ragged edges. If you manage to, however, you’d get a breathtaking view of the valley.Hot dealBreak away: For Rs. 17,900, get 2 nights’ stay at Te Aroha for 2 people. Offer includes all meals and free stay for children below 5 years of age. Valid till July 15.last_img read more

10 months agoDONE DEAL: Iborra leaves Leicester for Villarreal

first_imgDONE DEAL: Iborra leaves Leicester for Villarrealby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveVicente Iborra has left Leicester City for Villarreal. The Spanish midfielder made 37 appearances for the Foxes since joining from Sevilla in July 2017.A statement on the Villarreal website read: “Iborra is an experienced midfielder who is dominant in the air. “He has quality in front of goal, timing his runs from deep to perfection. He is a prestigious signing for the Yellow Submarine.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img