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Craig’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 17 Feb 2007

Location: Amarpukashi, India

MapHi everyone,

I arrived at the village here on Wednesday. There are 10 other project volenteers at the moment some of which have been here for 4 months! As always everyone is very different but all very nice and easy to get on with. The village itself is small but quite affluent compared to some places in India I have seen. We had a walk round yesterday to see a local brick and paper factory which runs pollution into the nearby fields by filling them with sulphur. We also got to look at the local horticulture which included plantations dedicated to Ganga all over the place, the local source of socialising and entertainment for the men in the village! Our accommodation is on the local college campus which is pretty nice and safe apart from the cheeky monkeys which one guy shoots when they come near.

We have a regimented day which begins at 7.30 with an hour of yoga, hindi lesson in the afternoon and a group discussion in the evening about a range of topics like poverty, economics and religion and can get quite heavy. I was a little skeptical about the yoga but actually enjoy it although I'm about as flexible as an ironing board. Luckily it stopped raining on Wednesday but its really cold when the sun goes down and in the morning. The showers are outside in blocks too so you can see your breath under the freezing water but it does wake me up pretty fast! We can pretty much choose what want to do for the rest of the day but I've mainly spent mine in conversation with students and teachers trying to improve their english but this also allows me to practice my hindi - I'll be fluent soon! As far as the nights go, after eating the electric is cut off so there's not all that much to do so its been early doors so far.

Overall the project seems to be well run and I'm sure I'll get a lot out of it but it does feel a little cultish. Its nice to be in one place for a while to be honest but I think I'll be itching to move on after 3 weeks!

Hope everyone's ok back home and keep in touch!