Saying Goodbye

Our final days at Samaj Pragati Sahayog were a whirlwind of activity. After an unsuccessful attempt to visit the ancient city of Mandu the previous week, we decided to make the trip on our final Sunday, days before our final presentation. Although it might have led to some late nights finishing up our presentation, the day trip was entirely worth it! Mandu, an ancient fort city in Madhya Pradesh, was simply amazing! There are three grand buildings that act as the main tourist destinations plus countless smaller ruins spread throughout the city. Since we waited for monsoon to visit, the whole city and surrounding area was covered in tinges of bright green; even the ruins were growing green mosses!


An ancient palace at Mandu.


After Mandu we hit the grind for a few days, preparing our final presentation, finishing up all of our projects, and squeezing in one last field visit. Ultimately, Bevan and I worked on 6.5 projects throughout our time at SPS. Although we essentially worked together on all projects, I personally focused on: documenting SPS’s Participatory Groundwater Management Program, creating publicity materials for RamRahim Pragati Producer Company, coming up with measurable indicators to track the success/progress of the watershed program, and compiling background research on groundwater use and technology history for a movie by the media team. Bevan worked on many of these projects as well in addition to documenting the story of the honey hunters behind Kumbaya’s wild honey and researching uncultivated and traditional foods in the area. Finally, we each helped out a bit with researching funding opportunities for the Kumbaya company (which is the .5 to our 6.5 projects).

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Final presentation– my first ever barefoot presentation!


Most of the other interns (and the employees for that matter) worked specifically with one SPS program; however, I was so glad that we got to work across programs as it allowed us to learn so much about what SPS does and how each aspect of the NGO works. Also, each program is inherently intertwined with the others so being able to work with many helped us to see how all of the programs fit together to support the same common goals.


Throughout our final week I realized just how much I will miss SPS, mostly I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that although I may see some of the people I became close to again, I likely will never physically return to the SPS campus. Thus, the thought of leaving, probably for good, made me sad and nostalgic as I reflected back on how enjoyable and impactful this summer has been. Regardless, I am so exceptionally happy that I had the opportunity to spend two and a half months in rural Madhya Pradesh at SPS—it truly was a once in a lifetime experience.


Sitting in an ancient building in Mandu.

For anyone who is curious, here is the link to Bevan and I’s final presentation—which was essentially just a snapshot overview of what we worked on this summer that we presented (over the course of 3 hours!!) to other interns, employees and founders:


Also a link to the timeline on groundwater history I made for the media team:–0PdTOjsuOUirWCqhXAZAO-RQz4DHmzcPOs&font=Default&lang=en&initial_zoom=2&height=650


Finally, here’s my photostream link which includes many more beautiful photos of Mandu and rural Madhya Pradesh (+ some photos of my current travels that I will update you all about in my next blog!):

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About Geneva Gondak

I am a rising junior in the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Policy & Application. This summer I will be interning at Samaj Pragati Sahayog in Bagli, Madhya Pradesh.