We are here! Well, most of us. After 27 hours of straight transportation, there’s something pretty welcoming about the wave of heat that hits you in the face when you realize you’re in India. Making our way through the same route to the guesthouse as last year passing landmarks I still remember, the car ride is both nostalgic and filled with anticipation. We are all so jetlagged: Sai is on the floor, Sarah is on the bed, and I’m still going “strong” typing this blog post… This is the first time I’ve come to Baroda by plane, and along with my idli sambar (South Indian breakfast food Sai claims is the BEST), it was fascinating to see the actual geographical layout of where we work.
Based mainly on an agricultural system, hamlets of small villages are surrounded by the land they farm, and each of these nuclei are linked by roads and irrigation systems to small lakes and bigger towns. Dolatpura is one village in this network, making me curious as to whether the problems residents face in our village are similar to other hamlets along this system. Just some thoughts.
Later tonight we met with Urja over Indian-afied quesadillas and paella (a restaurant called “That Place” dead serious, and the paella was really good). Despite the fact that gravity desperately wanted to drag my face towards the table out of sheer exhaustion, Urja’s passion about the Setco Foundation has a contagious enthusiasm that permeates even the weariest moments.
At this point I’ve landed in four different airplanes and three different layovers, but landing speaks to more than just the arrival to a location. It conjures something concrete: a return, the grounding of our work in a community that sometimes seems so distant. But we’ve all landed now, ready to hit the ground not quite as fast as a Boeing 747, but at least at 5 miles per hour, running, minds spinning with plans, aspirations, and adventures to come. So lace up your shoes, grab your water (Gujarat is hot and heat stroke is not fun… speaking from experience) – lets go for a jog.