Ram ram’s in Bakhel
Posted February 18, 2013. 4 Comments
Hi there. Sam here to update you on my first visit to Bakhel.
I have to say, I was delighted to be leaving the hustle and bustle of Udaipur for the Aravali Hills. Myself and Vivek left early on Friday morning and took the 2-3 hour wiggly bus trip to Bikarni. There we met Gopal who kindly took us the rest of the way on the back of his motorbike. I’m not used to riding motorbikes, and have to admit they scare me a bit, but there I was perched right on the back behind two other people….proper Indian style and it was great!! We arrived at Hunar Ghar about 30 minutes later and how lovely and peaceful it was there. We wandered from classroom to classroom and said hello to the children and the teachers. I was careful to remember to change the previously learned greeting of namaste to the locally spoken one which is ram ram. We left the children to their lessons and went and inspected the newly dug well and the community space where I will be spending lots of time. It was then time for school lunches where I had a chance to talk more to the teachers and Vishnu Madam who I will be working closely with. At this point things became a little awkward as I realised that my Hindi wasn’t flowing as well as I would of liked. Nonetheless, we seemed to get the basics sorted out which I guess is a start. After a lunch of dahl and rice and a delicious cup of chai we took a walk around one of the hamlets to inform the villagers that the mobile health clinic would be arriving in the morning. We walked along the paths that run through the crops and tried the small apple like bedh fruits that grow on the jaari tree. Bakhel’s surroundings are so beautiful and green at the moment.
After our tour we went and drank more chai at Vishnu Madam’s house. I had a chance to ask her a few questions about services in the area for pregnant women and was horrified to discover that they are practically non-existent. There is no midwife working in the area, no female doctor, no ante-natal clinics and most women are giving birth at home with only family members to deliver the baby. I was expecting services to be minimal but not quite this desperate.
Vivek then showed me our office in Rohida which is about a 40 minute bus ride from Bakhel. I seemed to cause a bit of a stir as foreigners are rarely seen around there. Some of the local women decided to come in and teach me a bit of Hindi which was fun until I realised that I was coming down with my first attack of sickness since I had arrived in India. I had a rough night but luckily felt well enough to travel back to Bakhel in the morning to see what happens when the mobile health clinic makes its fortnightly visit. I sat on a blanket with Vishnu Madam who was handing patients their record cards to take in to the doctor. Many ram rams and smiles were exchanged and I felt happy to be there. The clinic must have been there for 3-4 hours and villagers were given medication for skin complaints, asthma, digestive problems and injuries among other things. After another look around Hunar Ghar it was time to start the journey back to Udaipur. The three of us were back on the bike again for a longer distance this time and then we jumped into the back of a jeep that was crammed, inside and out, with men, women, children and babies. A ten minute walk to the main road where a goat decided to tag along with us for a while and then the final leg on the bus back to the noisy city.
All in all I enjoyed my first visit to Bakhel. I know that there are going to be many challenges to face when I go and stay there for a longer period of time. Unfortunately that has been postponed slightly due to some paperwork that has to be sorted out. Hopefully it won’t be too long though before I’m saying ram ram to the villagers again…….