Day 17: Learning Animal Names

Hi all: this is Erica checking in for day 17.

On Tuesday, we went back to Dolatpura for a second consecutive time. During this visit, we were hoping to meet with the municipal water pump operator, but we found out when we got there that he would not be joining us. In addition, the patient and kind Surpanch, Arjun, was headed to a wedding in a neighboring town, so he would not be showing us around. We are getting used to last minute changes in plan, so we elected to wander and meet some families under the guidance of Arjun’s younger brother, Jaideep.

Most people (and by most I mean pretty much all) in Dolatpura are farmers, with very strict daily routines. People wake up early to farm and then nap in the afternoon. Women do chores for pretty much the entirety of the day. We are still figuring out how exactly to interact with people in the village without imposing on them. People are so hospitable that it seems as though it would be against their cultural values to refuse to invite us to their home to speak to them; however, we create such a large commotion and disrupt their daily schedule. In addition, it is wedding season, so things are already quite hectic.

We talked this over with Priyank and Gayatri and we decided to split up the group and speak to less families. We also decided to ask the anganwadi worker, Sangeeta, if she would be willing to let the girls in our group interview her. We can figure out a time that works for her and go from there.

One technique that I have found engages people is learning animal names. We had some downtime in the anganwadi when we were waiting for the pump operator, so I took out my notepad and started drawing animals. I made some friends (a crowd of blushing little girls and one bold one) who taught me the Gujarati names for all the animals I drew. Then, as I was walking around the village, I pointed at animals and tried out all the animal names. With this new-found game, I have expanded my vocabulary to include words such as buffalo, cat, and snake.

After another awesome lunch in the canteen at SETCO, we decided to have recess. We threw the frisbee around for a while on the grass before we went inside to reflect and work. Having some down time in the middle of the day definitely helped our productivity in the afternoon.

In the evening, we headed over to Salmaben’s house for a lovely non-vegetarian dinner. We love Ramesh’s food, but it was nice to get some meat. Salmaben’s nephews were super cool and filled us in on all the rules of cricket. As the cricket match we were watching was on national television, there were commercials for alcoholic drinks. I found it interesting to watch these commercials in Gujarat, a dry state. The cricket match also gave us a taste of pop culture in India. I find it interesting to compare American commercials with Indian ones.

That’s all for now!


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