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September 25, 2011

[ This long-awaited post is to do with our previous visit to Jaipur… ps. check out the links! ]

After a productive yet tiring day at the BMVSS centre, we were eager to make the most of our stay. I had heard about Barefoot College and Bunker Roy through my teacher at RMIT and was very excited to see it in person. So we left early morning to Ajmer, a 2 hour bus ride. The bus had dropped us off in a small yet bustling town.

We had missed the bus to Tilonia by a few minutes. So we were guided by some policemen to take a Jeep there. Walked through the streets, and over the train tracks to the other side where there was a beautiful view of a lake with mountains in the background. This was the beginning of my love story with Tilonia.

As we got into the Jeep and made our way to Tilonia, we drove through pools of water on the road and tried to avoid the potholes. A sudden relief swept over me, to think of what it must have been like in an auto. As we drove, people in need of a lift would hop into the Jeep, and if all the seats had been taken, they would sit on the roof.

We drove past the old campus to the new one. It was as if we had been dropped to the middle of nowhere. I loved it! If I should ever “disappear”, it may be one of the places where you can find me.

The new campus…

They had a shop where they sold the work their women produce at the college. They had amazing bed sheets, clothes, bags and other goodies! It’s worth every penny! We then went for a walk around the new campus…

Bumped into visiting college students who wanted a photo with Lucy!

Walked or should I say “trekked” back to the old campus, with grey clouds above us, drizzling rain, while anticipating getting stuck in a storm with nowhere to run for cover.

I felt the urge to look like a tribal woman…

At the old campus, we met the most amazing  rural women solar engineers…

Lucky we were with our NID classmate, who goes by the name of Honey, who was able to communicate and translate. What would have we done without her?

As we stopped for a rest, we met some school children who were eager to say hello. Two girls stopped and sat down next to us, soon enough we were joined by a lady with her goats. We were told that the little girl didn’t have a notebook for school, so Lucy wanted to give away her notebook. Within seconds, the notebook was snatched from the little girl by the goat lady! Her alibi? “The little girl’s father works and he could afford to buy her one” and “I don’t have a husband and my granddaughter could put it to better use.” So Lucy gave the little girl an Australian flag pen, instead.

The goat lady took us to one of the staff members who kindly re-opened the kitchen for us and shared their leftovers…(During this meeting we found out that the goat lady’s daughter worked at the Barefoot college… *grrs* taking candy from a baby!)

We met the cutest baby at the toy making facility…

We tried to make her smile…

We walked back to the new campus, and on the way a woman yelled out for her photo to be taken.

She also offered to give her baby away…we politely declined.

We walked around the campus and met some women who were working on solar lights from Bhutan and Africa. They had been in India for 6 months and were leaving back home in a few weeks time, with the solar lights they had made and all they had learnt. Honey made friends with the women from Bhutan!

We saw the women who worked with textiles and saw the spinning wheels…

We walked back to the new campus to pick up our goodies we had bought from their store. Then, hopped on the back of a stranger’s car to make it in time for our Jeep ride to catch the train to Jaipur.

We missed the train but we happened to be at the right place at the right time to catch a bus back to Jaipur!

Photo credits: Hannelore “Honey” Dekeva & Video Credits: Lucy Fraser


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