Hey Everyone! This is Erica. I am pretty excited to be back in Gujarat. I’ve missed the food, the colors, and the noise. I think I can even say that the heat (108 degrees F today!) is bearable.
Today was our first day in Dolatpura. We spent a couple hours in the morning seeing all of our old friends and partners. It was exciting for me to see familiar faces (both at the factory and in Dolatpura). I even remembered some names! We wandered around Dolatpura visiting some houses and waving at people. All of the girls remembered me drawing the animals and made me get out my notebook.
One cool thing we saw were some monkeys (“vandro”) running through the village, jumping on the roofs, and drinking out of people’s water buckets. People threw rocks to keep them from stealing water. When the monkeys ran on the corrugated metal roofs, they made loud banging noises. At this point we were visiting Jenabhai’s family. His son told us that sometimes the monkeys damage the houses. I started to imagine the effect of having squirrels the size of small children running around and climbing trees in Michigan. I bet Michigan Squirrel Club would love that!
We also visited the woman who builds stoves, Sumitraben. She told us that she is planning on building a stove for her own house sometime soon; she said that we could watch. When we asked if we could help, everyone in the room laughed. We’ll see! Everyone in Dolatpura was excited because Sumitraben’s daughter is getting married this week. The wedding will last three days. Preparations were being made and music was playing in the streets. It is so exciting to be around at such a festive time!
I sat in on a talk about dreams with some of the girls in the village while the rest of the group played cricket outside in the street. Then, they dragged me out and made me play too. I felt super awkward with a cricket bat, but all the boys love to teach us how to play and don’t care that I am a beginner.
After visiting Dolatpura, we went back to the factory for a meal in the canteen. We quenched our thirst with Maaza mango juice and Thums Up cola. Yay for delicious Gujarati food!