Day 6: G is for Garlic

Hey all, Nisha here! This morning we opted for a few extra hours of sleep since we planned to stay later at the office. When we woke, we were surprised to be greeted by a different cook in our apartment. He introduced himself and we spoke for some time as I explained more about our purpose of being here. After realizing that we needed breakfast and there was nothing to eat in the apartment, he headed out to go get ingredients. The following 40 minutes were a blur of banging pots and pans as the cook and, surprisingly, our driver, Sabirbhai, concocted our meal behind drawn curtains in the kitchen, ultimately resulting in the presentation of plates stacked high with bread, omelets, and chai. We all noted a noticeable difference in the chai today, wondering whether it was the extra sugar or maybe too much ginger that was atypical. Sabirbhai strolled out of the kitchen smiling with pride as he noted that this was the first batch of chai that he had ever made. We all finished our cups happily. 

As we were putting on our shoes to leave, we noticed that the cook had left the apartment. When we entered the kitchen during our search for him, we found it littered with egg shells, onion peels, half cooked omelets, and chai grinds. Unclear on whether we would ever see the cook again, our team assembled. Sarah didn’t hesitate as she began picking up the scraps with her hands and taking a broom to the floor, Rachel cleared the table, and Kabir and I rinsed the countertop and stove. Finally, with the kitchen clean and our team utterly confused, we grabbed our bags and headed out the door right as the cook returned. He walked back into the kitchen, bearing a look of complete astonishment.

Our first plan of action for the day was to visit Jetpur. While walking down each of the community’s falias (street), Kabir and Rajeshbhai interviewed various men while the rest of our team followed Jetpur’s aganwadi teacher, Falguniben. As we weaved through three of the five falias, Natalia, Rachel, and Sarah worked to meticulously document every detail of our surroundings while I interviewed several women, learning briefly of their lives and struggles. The heat forced us to retire from our visit and plan to return to the final two falias at a later time.

We spent the next few hours working in the office. Over lunch we laughed with the Setco team as we recounted the details of how we had acquired our late dinner the night before. We ended our workday with a brief visit to another community, Alindra. As most of the village had gone to celebrate a wedding, we were only able to meet with one family. We split off once more, with Kabir working alongside Rajeshbhai to interview a male family member while I sat with Salmaben to interview a female member of the household and her sister-in-law.

As we began our trip back to the guesthouse, we remembered that we would have to scavenge for dinner once again. Our efforts to decide on a place to eat were completely futile, so we enlisted the help of Sabirbhai, who directed us to a nearby take-out place. Five naans completely coated in garlic, three bowls of paneer, and two hours of deliberating later, our team was sprawled on a bed, blissfully stuffed as we began our debrief of the day.

Our night ended late after a lengthy discussion regarding our findings from the interviews and how we would structure our remaining three community visits tomorrow.

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