>Travel Pictures


Village Scenes

One of the best things about living in India is the opportunity to see how people's lives can be absolutely different from ours, yet the satisfaction and happiness of a life well lived is still there. During our week without walls trip, we were able to visit a couple of villages (riding in bullock carts in one instance) and interact with the residents there.

(click on the image below for a larger view)

The cows were decorated in beds, a sight that is not unusual at all.
As we approached the village, we started smelling the odor of cow manure. Our guides reminded us that the people basically lived with their livestock, as a form of security and because the animal waste was used as an exceptionally clean-burning form of fuel.

The herdsman who was accompanying them stopped for a few toothy grins, and then continued on his way up the road. If you want to see him close up, go ahead and click on the picture!

Turning the corner into the main square, we came across a number of small brick homes. The residents came out to greet us - mostly older people since the kids were either in school or working in the fields. Fascinating stories these lines could tell! Larger version on click...

Once we got into the village, we ran straight into a cow convey. Being taken right through the path that marked the main street of town, a shuffling herd of cattle bore down on us, under the watchful eyes of residents young and old. You can click on the picture to see a larger version of this shot.

An old woman sitting at the top of the nearby knoll offered him some hay for the cows, and then settled back to relax in the shade. She too has a larger sized picture with a click...

The insides of the homes were pretty bare. Kitchens are usually nothing more than a place to have a fire and store pots and pans. Because there is no indoor plumbing, there is no need to worry about sinks and such...

Inside the villages, the housing was surprisingly good. Most of the residents had home made of pressed bricks, in which 3 generations of extended families often lived. 

But the really surprising things were A) the smiles on everyone's faces, and B) the number of kids running around. I did a quick search, and India's birth rate is 22 per 1,000 - the US is 14 and Japan's is under 8 - so the population is increasing rapidly.

Sisters in a doorway

Happy to see you!

Friends in the afternoon

When we got to the school, we removed our shoes and then entered the one room building. The children all stood up for our entrance, but then settled back own to continue their lesson (the standing picture links to a larger version). 
The kids are so lucky to get an education - the girls especially - even if it is not in an educational environment that is like our modern classrooms. 

The kids pay such attention and do the bast they can: sitting on the floor, with no books, and only a few chalkboards for their lessons. Really makes us feel twice about the complaining we do when the internet is running a little too slowly for our taste...
Even the younger set in the village know that education is the way for them to 'get out' of the life they are in, and so the school is a focal point of everything that goes on. How many of these kids will actually finish school is another question, but at their young age, a curiosity about things is the strongest ally in a fight against illiteracy.

Because, let's face it, the life that is waiting for most adults in these villages is not one of leisure. Back breaking work from sunup to sundown is the norm for most of the grownups here. From left to right - bundling hay, bringing home firewood, and separating the grain from the chaff.


Even the kids are not exempt from labor. As we left one of the schools, we came across this group of people threshing wheat. They would pick up a sheaf, walk around the barrel, and then slam the stalks against it a few times.

It was hard work, out in the direct sun, and the only respite was an occasional drink from a rain water bucket.

But the amazing thing was when we came across the same girl (the one on the green outfit above) as we were leaving the school. She was a teenager, out of school, and it looked like she was going to be destined for the same sort of labor for the rest of her life.

The women end up doing a lot of the 'domestic' work, which involves chores that we take for granted - like getting water. To the left are a few carrying the dishes from the impossible-to-see stream in which they've washed them.

Women still visit communal wells (left) or taps (above) to get water for household use, and then carry it home on their heads.

 She was smiling now, but I wonder if she will still be smiling in a few years.

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