India Romeo 3 – Phase 2

17th August 2014

IR3B3P1

After a busy time at field base for phase review reflecting on our progress and preparing for our activities in phase two, we were very excited to return as a team to our village. With our primary and secondary projects finally confirmed we were keen to get going on construction and our awareness raising activities. Our primary project is focused on the tribal area of our village where we will build a community toilet and shower and an area for washing clothes. Part of our secondary project involves building a water tank for this area which will mean they have enough water to flush the toilet regularly – something which is very important for its maintenance. We have started working on the primary project by digging the foundations however progress has been slow due to delays in moving materials and the mason’s availability.

Something which we were particularly excited to get started on in phase 2 was our advocacy campaign for both the scheduled caste and tribal people. After doing some initial research into tribal rights and the Forest Rights Act 2006 a small team of us set off to our local Gram Panchayath (local government office) at Arepalayam to find out what they have been doing for Hongalavadi and their future plans for the village. The staff seemed interested in our presence in the village and spent a long time with us answering our questions. The key things we found out from this fact finding mission were; the work carried out in the past for Hongalavadi, the plans to increase the water supply for the village and the difficulties in maintaining facilities such as public taps and the library. We plan to revisit the Gram Panchayath with a group of villagers from the disadvantaged scheduled caste to empower to find out more about what rights they are entitled to.

IR3B3P1

Soon after our arrival back in the village we were very happy to be invited to a family function at our local temple. The function was a celebration for a village baby who after spending 9 months with his mother’s family will now move in with his father’s family. We were treated to a lovely lunch in the marquee which consisted of lots of dishes served on leaves. The girls in our team were given gifts and we spent time socialising with the villagers.

Our weekly lessons at Hassanur and Arepalayam schools have been continuing with nutrition and mosquitoes and disease covered in the last week.

On Thursday 7th  we hosted a vet camp for the livestock in our village which after a shaky start became a success with a total of 67 cows seen and treatment given out for a further 22 cows.

And of course our popular weekly quiz nights continue with one win for each of the three teams – team Q with Natasha, Nikhil and Ashok, the quizzical 4 with Aramide, Hugh, Vivek and Aneesh and team Swamadana with Nats, Swammy, Danny and Maruti. The volunteers also enjoy coming up with questions for our team leaders Emma and Bonny who compete against each other to answer a mixture of general knowledge questions and questions about ourselves to see if they have been paying attention! Emma is currently beating Bonny 2 to 1!

IR3B3P2

With just 3 weeks left before we start heading back to field base for the last time we know we will be busy finishing our construction projects, doing our last awareness sessions, wellbeing day, dental camp and then packing up and saying some emotional goodbyes!