View from a volunteer team leader May 25, 2016

Decorated elephant India

Posted in on May 25, 2016

Ray Fowell and his team went to one of the hottest, driest parts of India, Rajasthan, at one of the hottest times of the year: May. Despite temperatures reaching 50C, they worked full days to ensure a water-retention structure got built. Here is Ray’s perspective.

Rajasthan, Udaipur, Bargatua Kella, May 2016.

Unless you have been there, unless you have experienced the heat and seen the dry arid land, it is hard to imagine how the village farmers exist in Rajasthan. Having been there and seen it, I still find it hard to imagine.

They rely on one precious source provided by Mother Nature, but only if she feels like it. Rajasthan sits at the tail end of the monsoons. They race up from the south sometimes causing havoc on their way, but as they get further north they curl to the west over the parched lands of Rajasthan depositing the remnants of a once powerful storm.

In 2014, there was very little rainfall, followed by a very poor 2015. Not enough to re-charge the wells that support the villages and irrigate the land. The life source depended on by the farmers is currently in short supply while they hope for a better result in 2016.

When the rain comes, it rushes across the land so fast there is no time for the water to seep into the earth and reach down to replenish the water table and the wells. This is where a sub-surface dam comes into its own, holding back the water long enough for it to be of use to villagers and farmers alike.

Having had the privilege of working alongside the local people of Bargatua Kella, with a team of volunteers from DWC, having seen the smiles and laughter, the anticipation and hope that this dam will bring them the water they so need and deserve, after all the hard work that has been put into this project, I have no doubt this was the trip to be part of.

If not only for the fantastic hospitality, the many laughs created through a non-common language, the songs, the dance, the many visits to villagers homes to meet their family to drink their chai and eat their snacks, the smiling faces, the colour of the women’s saris, the hard work put in by everyone in the village to reach a common goal, if not only for that, then the fact that these beautiful people may have a better year after the monsoon, water for their wells and crops in their fields, all because a team of international volunteers appeared in their village, willing to pitch in and help them build a dream.

And what do the volunteers gain from this experience? Unimaginable memories, new friends, a greater understanding of life outside their comfort zone, the chance to travel to parts of the world tourists will never see, and some they will. To be part of the change, to try something new, gain experience, develop skills, improve their career prospects, build confidence. The list is endless and the only way to find out what it will do for you is to go do it.

Thank you Developing World Connections for allowing me to be part of it.

Ray Fowell

Posted in on May 25, 2016