Our team, Manager ni School, along with 3 SEWA officers went to Rajasthan to see potential sites for the new Business Resource Centre (BRC) and the villages that the BRC will serve. It was a 3-hour drive to Dungarur (where an existing SEWA office is and where we met with an additional local SEWA contact), then another hour drive to reach one of the two villages (Bamiya and Rajpura) we visited.
Along the way we got to see the traffic of India (order in chaos), camels, and environment change as we travel from Gujarat to Rajasthan (desert and cacti). Our amazing driver, Devi Singh, made sure we were comfortable and felt safe, and also pointed out all the Kingfishers, peacocks, various farms and any interesting sights along the way.
We had a lot of discovery and learning, recognizing that our assumptions may often be off-based.
In the first village, we visited a “Child Care Centre” (not the same as day care; parents could be present and kids learn) and were greeted by some of the SEWA members and kids of the village. Bhavini-ben, the SEWA SMS representative, spoke with the villagers about the potential benefits that the new BRC could provide and asked what they would find most useful. Saloni used her language skills to take diligent notes of the meeting and kept the rest of the team in the loop.
We spent the night at Hotel Sai Palace, which made us miss Lemon Tree Hotel in Ahmedabad dearly.
Whenever we were in town to go visit potential BRC sites, there will be people crowded around us to “see the foreigners.”
We had lots of interesting food along the way, including Chinese food, fruits, and a variety of snacks.
On the way back, we saw a car with siren and men waving sticks at other drivers as they passed. Turned out it was the car of a government official getting some special treatment to speed through traffic. Our super smart driver, Devi, followed closely to help us go through traffic and get back to the larger group quickly.