Bea goes to India 2006

A place to house periodic comments from Bea while she backpacks her way through India and Nepal.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

work project, day one

I know I briefly posted yesterday, but since the opportunity has presented itself, I'm going to take advantage of it.

we have taken the bus in from Mandore to Jodpur -- found a cafe with a generator, so we are not as dependent on the power. [India does not have enough electricity, so they schedule outages in this area to compensate -- they schedule once a week what the outages will be on the following week...]

everyone recognized that we were wrecked after the ride yesterday, especially in the heat. our alternative is to bike out one day, store the bikes at the site, and return the following day [that will be brutal -- long ride, uphill, windy, after we have worked... sigh]

today we took transport to and from the site. we hauled rocks, made weak cement to mortar them together, and started the walls for a simple kitchen in the courtyard. their current kitchen is a primative lean-to style, with a grass roof... we will be constructing a stone kitchen with a low-fuel stove and a tin roof [at least I think that is the plan]... not always clear when you ask a question what the answer really is.

other little teams also put together some of the tables/benches that we are going to put in the classrooms, and started to chip away at the sandstone roof of the building to install an electric fan. Not every classroom will get a fan, but the ones that make the most sense for the community to also use after-hours for a type of community center.

Lordi is one of the larger villages in the area -- panditchi is a designation for the district -- there are about 180 houses, most with extended families. 250 students are registered, but not all of them are attending regularly. They expect that as some kids go home to talk about us being there, more students will come.

The school is 30 years old. it is a series of rooms with a balcony surrounding a courtyard. there is a cistern, a few trees, and an outdoor urinal/toilet. right now the kids sit on the floor. one classroom is outside on the ground. they are considering adding another room to the end of the building so that they have another classroom available.

The primary work of the village is agriculture, driven by the monsoon. They also care for domestic animals for milk and breed camels/sheep for wool and to sell the babies.

Today I learned the word for the bowl that is pretty ubiquitous -- tangari -- they use it as a measurement [for instance, the concrete is 10 tangari of sand, one tangari of cement] I think it might be a proper souvenier for me -- I would use as a coffee-table bowl or something... my colleagues are convinced that I'm a bit odd!

David and I are thinking we would like to go to the Golden Temple -- that too is a bit odd... MOST of the time would be on a train, but I'm thinking it would be perhaps the only chance I would have to go.

stay well and happy. know that I think of you often and feel like I've popped down a rabbit-hole. grins, b