Having just returned from the field, I wanted to share with you some of my experiences and a little bit about what I observed and learned through this trip.
My visit to Haliyal this past week was a truly incredible experience. Through my involvement in the participatory planning sessions with the learning facilitators, community kitchen workers, and field staff, I was able to gain valuable insights about the challenges involved in grassroots development projects. Indeed, the process of ensuring that the plans for these projects actually translate to the field is far more complex than I originally imagined. I believe this participatory planning session to be a vital necessity in the process of moving forward with CherYsh’s various programmes, as it allows us to work in collaboration with those in the field, learning about the challenges they experience and the ways in which CherYsh can support them in overcoming these issues.
I was also able to participate in a transect walk through the Tatwanagi village. This – as well as my discussion with Shantha later that night – gave me a more in-depth understanding of the sociological aspects of the village and the chance to observes some of the present issues that exist in terms of infrastructure and hygiene. I also had the opportunity to sit in on the lesson taught in that village’s Shiksha. I was able to document what I believe are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the present modules and will continue to work on my proposal for the further development of CherYsh’s curriculum.
My time in this village, though brief, opened my eyes to issues I have had the privilege of never having to experience: an inability to access water for many days at a time, a shortage of electricity for several hours each day, school teachers who are simply ill-equipped to provide their students with the education they need, and poor infrastructure. And yet, I couldn’t help but appreciate the evident beauty that is present in a community that considers their neighbors to be family despite the differences in their religions, castes, and cultural practices. I couldn’t help but smile at the sense of pure joy that could be seen in the children that ran down the dirt roads playing with a rubber tire. There was something entirely enchanting about the tall palm trees, the abundance of greenery, the outstretched fields uninterrupted by the chaos of city life that I have grown accustomed to. And indeed, there is something truly promising about a room full of young girls, who despite all challenges, have a genuine desire to learn.
Thank you all for your support and to all those who contributed to making my first visit to the field such a wonderful experience!
~ Sarah Aranha , Programme Intern with CherYsh