We are visiting a forest that is protected from degradation, which is a problem in Rajasthan; people cut down the teak trees and any brush for cooking meals, then because of a law that allows access of livestock to common land, the grass is eaten down to the roots.
The trees here are growing back naturally, and we notice the air is cooler and less arid because of the moderating influence of trees on the landscape.
The project is almost complete and the whole project experience has been a whirlwind of activities. We jump into the jeep...or should I say, cram into the jeep, drive back through the busy, smoky, noisy city of Bhinder, out to a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, drive back by 9:30pm, crawl into bed, then sleep restlessly, awaken at 6am, read, shower, then delicious sweet chai served in our room common area, conversation, jog down the stairs into the ancient courtyard, up more stairs to what was the Raj's guest arrival terrace in the 1800's, more conversation, eggs, rice, a curried wheat mixture, toast, more tea, then into our work boots and into the jeep to drive through the quieter morning streets of Bhinder, out into the country, while adults and children wave and yell "namaste" as we drive by, then meeting women carrying bugle loads of sticks for firewood on their heads, and others carrying pots of drinking water home, school girls dressed in sky-blue uniforms, with white pants, walking several kilometers to class....there is no obesity problem in India!
Farming families have only recently begun to thresh mustard weeds, barley, rice and wheat by machine, but all still harvest using small hand scythes, bending over, gathering a handful of stalks in the left hand, cutting it with the right hand, then gathering it into a stook, for threshing.
DW Team Leader