Returning to Tala…July 2009

March 26, 2010

Despite the fact that we got off to a rocky start with the trip back–we arrived in Tala July 19th, 2009. We were armed with the usual medicine kit of accessories–the sprays, the lotions, the pills, the ointments…being sick is always a major concern when travelling India, and this time was no exception!

           

Upon our arrival, we were greeted once again by Mohan at the Umaria train station. Always recognizeable in his ‘safari clothes and cap’ he was a very welcome site at 5 in the morning, when our train pulled in.

Despite having slept on the train, you always arrive at your destination exhausted and feeling extremely unclean–I couldnt wait for a hot shower. However, a hot shower is not a guarantee in India, as the power goes off regularly and the free running water is always hit and miss.

After a reviving breakfast of dal and rice ( the bog standard for food in India) and a lukewarm shower–we were warmly greeted by all the kids from the Anti-malaria Club. They came armed with their banners and their slogans and their ideas–ready to go out and conquer the mosquito population of Bandhavgarh!!

The first priority was to determine how we were going to distribute the nets–we had a total of approximately 700$ with which to buy the nets, and the need was great–how were we going to distribute them? What are the criteria we would use? The homes with children? The poorest families? The families in the outlying villages? How can you decide who needs them the most?? We needed the wisdom of Solomon on that one, as to our untrained eye, they were all poor and in desperate need!

We finally all agreed that the poorest families –as judged so by the Indian Census Statistics –with children, would each get a net. It was the best we could do.

That night, I was desperately ill and spent the next day moaning and dying in my bed.

Immy was left with the momentous task of holding our first Anti-Malaria Club meeting. As honorary chairman, he governed the proceedings and decisions were made on how we were to proceed. He was also left with the awesome responsibility of going back to Umaria and purchasing the nets. It sounds simple, but in reality thats a days job. Nothing is easy in India. Its a nice picture, and looks like a smooth ride–but thats because you cant see the craters in the road!

Immy returned that day, having successfully cleaned the man out of ALL his mosquito nets. We still had money left over that we would have to use at a later visit. Did that mean we had to come back?? Probably, but that would be a decision for a later time. Right now, we had more pressing matters to attend to–my funeral ( 🙂 ) and net distribution!

Nets awaiting distribution!

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