Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5th: Visiting Jatan's office

Today's breakfast menu: Nutella crepes and grilled cheese with peanut butter that we brought. Delicious!

Today we visited the Jatan Sansthan office. It was a short 10 minute drive from our hotel. Chirag, our trusty guide, picked us up. He is our new best friend who is friendly, knowledgeable and answers every question we throw his way. Fun fact: he is in post graduate studies in English literature and he enjoys reading Shakespeare.

We met Kailash, the head of the office, and other executive of Jatan Sansthan, who were all so welcoming! They gave us care packages filled with hats, notebooks, pens, first aid kits, biscuits, water bottles, working gloves and info packets. They are worried about how we are handling the heat as May and June are the hottest months in Rajasthan with temperatures reaching up to 45 degrees. We are taking it slow and drinking litres upon litres of paani (water) every day.

We went out for lunch which consisted of chana (chickpeas), daal (lentils), rice, roti, naan and lassis (sweet yogurt drinks). At lunch, we learned how to properly pronounce "lassi" and eat the traditional Indian way with one hand.

After lunch we had a presentation about UGER which means "new beginnings". It is one of Jatan's programs that empowers women and supports their menstrual health. They make reusable sanitary pads out of cotton for women as a micro finance project . They also aim to increase the discussion around menstrual health and "put the 'men' in menstruation" as it is taboo here in India and also all over the world, including in Canada. Menstruation is often something hidden and not talked about even though it is an essential and natural part of human reproduction.

In the evening, Chirag took us to buy long sleeve shirts at a tailor shop with any colour or pattern you wanted and each for about 300 rupees, which is $6.

We went to bed early again and packed our bags to leave in the morning for Railmagra, the village where our building project will take place.

Vita Sackville-Hii
DWC Team Leader
Udaipur, India: May 2014

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