Cool Story Hansel…

What would you do if random, probably rain soaked, people showed up at your door with a translator and asked to talk to you about your household’s details??? I am guessing that 99.99% of you would say no thanks creepy dudes, get off my porch; I know I would. Questions like, how much money do you spend a month? Are you below the poverty line? Would you be willing to purchase a new stove that had environmental, health and livelihood benefits? Yet, I am astounded every time we roll up to a house and they take us into their home with open arms and pump chai into our already overloaded systems. The sincerity and welcoming nature I have experienced in these mountain villages confounds my impatient American mind.

Last week I created and administered my own baseline survey in a small village called Killaur. With the help of a good friend who speaks perfect English and Hindi I was able to survey a third of the village and get a general idea about the state of the households (got to shout out to my man Apoorv who was on fire with his translations). We stumbled upon this village on a reconnaissance mission into an area that has not been informed about our stove program. Now our team is moving to set up a new pilot program in Killaur, which gives me that warm kind of apple-pie feeling because I see Killaur as my own little village baby. So work is going well. I love the field-work, and I will be returning to the village a few times this week.

As I try to think of a story to relay on this blog there are too many thoughts running through my head so I am going to write this as they pop into my mind.  Hitching a ridiculously bumpy/queasy ride to Killaur in the back of a fruit truck, as Alex’s phone slithers out of my pocket and gets left in the back of the truck. Celebrating the fourth of July by letting people Henna tattoo some ‘Merica things on me including “Thug Life” and “These Colors Don’t Run, Boi” (can’t believe how dark they turned on my skin, these are going to stay with me for a couple of weeks…). Getting lost in Gajjar with Chandu, one of our sales team members, climbing down into the river basin, and immediately realizing I had just down-climbed through a bush of stinging nettle as my upper body broke out into red m&m looking hives. Finding a little scorpion outside the dorm, promptly losing sight of it at it scurried towards my room. Plump plums, perfect peaches, appetizing apples, abundant apricots, plenty’O pears, fruit season in the mountains was hectic. Donning my full body rain armor, traveling out in the heaviest downpour and discovering newly formed waterfalls as the opaque clouds morph the landscape into an apocalyptic land-before time. Eating well, eating for cheap, eating with my hand, only with the right hand, stuffing myself like an Indian turkey. Stopping for a minute and taking it all in, disbelief at where I am in this moment. Excitement for dayz.

It’s all good in the CHIRAG hood. Namaste.


Hopefully I will be able to put up some pictures on this post later if the internet allows it.

2 thoughts on “Cool Story Hansel…

  1. Hi, I stumbled across your blog because you were featured on Penn News Today a couple days ago. Your travels piqued my interest because I’m of Indian heritage and I actually applied for a CASI program. Enjoyed reading a bit about your experiences–I like your casual and easy-to-read style of writing:)

    Soo.. I like that your first post indicated that you would post pictures. Then India said: what the hell were you thinking?!

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