Last day in Jodhpur

It was our last full day in Jodhpur and so we decided to take a trip into the countryside.

Our very chatty driver had a planned itinerary which made the trip easy for us. The first stop was a visit to a Bishnoi family. Bishnoi is a Hindu religious sect found in the Western Thar Desert and northern states of India. I found out more about this sect when we got home and it’s fascinating. Their diet is totally vegetarian and amongst other principles they have a ban on killing animals and provide protection to all life forms. They make sure that the firewood they use hasn’t any small insects and they don’t wear blue clothes  because the dye for colouring them is obtained by cutting large quantities of shrubs. Unlike other followers of Hinduism they bury their dead rather than cremate them as they have a very strict ban on cutting down trees.

Their lifestyle is very basic including living in round mud huts with a grassy roof. Not only a basic life but a healthy one too. The head of the household and his wife were both eighty-seven apparently and very fit. No problem for them sitting crossed-leg on the floor or grinding the corn using a very heavy grinding wheel! We also had a demo by the elder on how to make liquid opium! Didn’t taste too bad either. Wish I hadn’t worn my blue cotton top though!

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The wildlife in the area is amazing too. Antelopes, gazelle, blue bulls and some very large birds which I think were cranes. Anyway they made an amazing sight when they took off.

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Despite the fact that families on the tourist trail are happy to have their picture taken, the Bishnoi are very private people and dislike having cameras pointed at them. For the picture at the top of this Blog and the one below I had to work quickly. I never like taking pictures of people who aren’t happy about it but I couldn’t resist capturing a couple of shots of their wonderful saris.

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We enjoyed the morning although we felt guilty that we bought so little at the pottery place and nothing at all at the block printing workshop even though both guys gave us an interesting demo. We felt a bit trapped but if there’s nothing you want and it’s the last day …what can you do? However …on the way back just as we’d got near to the city our driver asked if we wanted to stop at an embroidery place. We weren’t that bothered as by now we could do with a cold beer back at the Haveli but we said okay and that we wouldn’t be long. It turned out that this place was a large warehouse full of the most beautiful textiles, they were stunning. An hour later we left with a gorgeous Indian wall hanging and a silk bed throw to die for! It was a great way to finish our trip!

 

Our stay in Sreepur Village (2)

Pat told us that assembly on a school day is at 8.30 am. After a tasty breakfast which included a delicious fluffy omelette we made our way to the grassy area, armed with my camera of course. The children standing in lines listened first of all to one of the teachers  making a few announcements before they began to sing the national anthem of Bangladesh.  We felt quite emotional listening to the singing as the children sang with such gusto. All too soon assembly was over and everyone dispersed to go to their classrooms.

The school in Sreepur Village covers pre-school, kindergarten and primary classes with the older children attending the local village schools for secondary education. Academically bright children are supported through further education and university. Most children however learn practical skills in the village and some through work experience with local ethical companies. Apprenticeships are available too.

John and I spent our remaining time in the village having fun with the younger children in their creche and re-visiting some of the workshops. I also bought handmade cards from the shop, a scarf and a few gifts then all too soon it was time to say goodbye.

I am so grateful to Pat for giving John and I the opportunity to visit the village. It is an inspiring place and so uplifting to see the difference this project is making to the lives of destitute mothers and their children.  I am proud to be a supporter of this charity, long may their work continue.

School assembly at Sreepur Village
Daily assembly with the older girls ready to go off to High School.
Kindergarden at Sreepur Village
Kindergarden with a game of ‘catch’ for the older infants.
Drying blankets & sheets at Sreepur Village, Bangladesh
A perfect drying day at Sreepur Village
Mother & toddler at Sreepur Village, Bangladesh
We found it hard to say goodbye.