Friday, 1 July 2011

Been there, done that, got a very sweaty t-shirt

Been away for a fair few nights now. Three I think. You do start to lose track of times and days. Went away to visit some projects in very rural areas so had to stay in small villages, this was bittersweet. Here was how it panned out.

 It was a 3 hour car journey from what feels like my home or base now. I stayed the duration at a families home in a small, roadside village. There house was actually very modern, although very India; basic, lots of marble, nothing much actually in the house. The family did not speak a word of English but insisted on talking at length to me in Tamil. This wasn't very productive. Communication wasn't as much as a problem as you may think as I only spent the night at this house and it wasn't hard to work out it was dinner time or bed time as food was laid in front of you and they went to bed in the lounge so went they slept, I slept. The night, especially the first, was difficult. It was extremely hot in the night and my room was open with no glass in the huge window I had, exposing me to the noisy Indian night. This was full of insects, geckos, fighting dogs, and beeping motorists. The first morning was the loneliest and most down point of my trip so far. (This trip also had two of my highest, so no need to worry). In the days we visited schools, by motorbike, with finished Ecosan toilets (all will be explained later) to make sure they were being kept clean and being used properly. I also visited  Toilets that were currently being built due to new investment. My role was to "Curr" or "Cure" the walls, this is as much as I can relay due to communication problems. This was keeping the walls wet so that they did not crack or twist under the heat of the sun. This was extremely hot and exhausting work, now have the knowledge to know what it is like to be in the shoes of Josh Lawon for a day, laboring is tough and sweaty. Lunch times were interesting and I don't mean that in a sarcastic way. I was invited to people homes, mud huts, to eat with their family, which was amazing although concerning as I was not sure if my stomach would match theirs. I think the biggest highlight I have of the trip so far was a nap time. It truly was amazing. I went back to one of the guys home at mid day. We wound through the open countries roads on the motorbike and it just felt so free, no cares in the world. It was actually his mothers house and I was allowed a small sleep inside. The village was picture book India. Cows and chickens roamed the streets and would even wonder peacefully into the houses. There was something so tranquil that I find it hard to put into words.

Here is a Picture of the room I slept in

P.s If you look closely you can see a sleeping woman at the end of the room

The schools I visited were always so glad that I came. In such rural areas white people are never seen and even if they are not fully aware of why you are there, they welcome you like you are a hero. You are often given gifts, I once received a towel and was secretly over the moon as I was running short. The children were always polite and well mannered and would wave whenever they saw you. If you waved back they would shout and get their friends, as if a celebrity had acknowledged them. A few children wanted to touch my skin, just to make sure it wouldn't rub off, it didn't. 

A small outing I got to go on in an afternoon, was to visit the worlds second largest Mangrove forest. (The largest is actually in India, in Bangalore). It consisted of a 2 hour boat ride, rowed by a man on less money a day than out minimum wage per hour, which was peaceful although a little too long to look at trees in my book.

The trip did present its self with picturesque scenes and good opportunities to use a new Birthday gift however.

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