First week of work
I think my postings will become slightly less exciting as we move forward into this project. More work, less play.
Monday and Tuesday were spent getting background information from the professors Dr. Thammaiah and Dr. Prisan about the governance structures, existing programs, etc. Unfortunately I think there is some universal patterns to governments - some corruption, creating programs from afar that make little sense on the ground, strapped resources. It has been mind blowing just trying to get a handle of how many people and village they have to deal with. India is trying to manage 1/6 of the world population, in a country with very poor infrastructure, water shortages, etc. On top of these problems are the castes, which are alive and well regardless of what people say. Even in rural communities, it is divided into caste neighbourhoods and some are kept from using the good water taps, etc. Hard to get a community participation model when people will not interact with each other. The rural population here is more than 60% -and though they are dealing with similar issues of Canada of urbanization, less education and health, the issues are of such a larger magnitude. Makes some of the problems we concern ourselves with in Canada a luxury.
Beth Lewis, the planning faculty arrived on Wed night - great to have her here. She has given a preliminary presentation of the community planning model to the faculty - trying to read the chemistry of the room I thought they hated it - they afterward we saw great enthusiam and energy about it. Wonderful.
Today (Friday) we went back to Suttur village with Beth so we could all get a better look around. I got a little overwhelmed today, after visiting the school for the underprivileged (imagine 5000 children that do not and will not have the love and support of a family), and waving away children selling junk on the streets (these are the children not lucky enough to be sent to a charity school/food program). So much to do here, so many people in dire, tragic situations - it would take many lifetimes. I get a little fire in the belly hearing about all the corruption, people conning money away from these communities for their own gain, poorly-thought out government programs that waste much needed resources. Some of the women in the Suttur village have organized themselves into self-help groups producing chutneys - one of the good government programs. Problem is that there is no help for them to sell the goods - so ends up wasting all the motivation and enthusiam they have built up to be let down in the end.
Tomorrow we are heading back to BR Hills for a visit - my camera died last time so will make sure I am going with a charged battery, capture some of the gorgeous scenery.