Tomorrow we being adult literacy classes. Yesterday's trip to Bhilwara was in preparation for these classes. 15 slates, a box of chalk, a 1-100 Numbers Chart, and an extra large chart of Hindi letters - all for Rs 134 (about $3). Ratni and Suresh allowed us to use their patio as the classroom. We didn't visit every house,only the few who were eager for education when asked during the survey.
While crossing the main road to visit the lone cluster of homes, a motorcycle holding 2 young men slowed down and stopped by us. I made eye contact with one of the boys. I noticed he held a notepad. He started the conversation:
"Where are you from?"
"Where are you from?"
"An organization. You guys looked like you were with an organization as well, so we thought we'd stop by."
My gigantic register must have given us away. Not to mention our dressing sense which labelled us as obvious outsiders. The boys, Ravi and Abed, worked for an NGO called BASICS. The two of them were on their way to a nearby village...I forget the name, but it was part of a different panchayat. Their organization worked on providing financial literacy, information on how to take loans, what schemes were available to them, etc. We exchanged contact information. It would be interesting to see what they do and the conditions of the community they are working with.
We continued our stroll through the Kheda, reminding every woman to come tomorrow. No men. No kids. Only women. Many expressed concern about the time. 6 is to early, make it later. I have to cook dinner and clean up. Speaking to the attendees tomorrow will give us a clearer idea of what time works best for the 'logaiyan'...that's Mewadi for 'women'.
I'm excited. Jasodha, Nandram's older daughter, is one of the many girls who work the night shift at a brick-making factory. She can't attend the evening classes. I've asked her to bring a few others to our veranda at noon tomorrow, where I'll hold alternative classes. This is our first attempt toward change in Shreeji ka Kheda. I'm curious to see how it plays out.
And just because so many of you have asked, here's a picture of where we are staying. It's not much, but it's home.
Our humble abode