After breakfast, we headed to an organic farm by the name of Navdanya. Navdanya is an NGO that works with farmers all over India to switch from chemically modified seeds to organic seeds. The people there greeted us warmly, and after a short talk on the history , took us around the farm. Here, we meet Pablo, one of the many interns on the farm. He told us a lot about the mechanics of polycultural farming (Polycultural farms have multiple crops growing in the same area). Later, we had a wonderful lunch, full of all organic food. Anuj was amazed at the spices used in the dal.
Once we ate everything, licking our plates clean, we went back on the bus and drove to a slum which Doon School students work with. We started by introducing ourselves to the people there. One lady was upset due to a previously installed lightbulb defusing, so we called Shantum (our tour guide) to tell the lady that the Doon School students would fix it (more on that later). Then we took to entertaining the kids by showing them how to play catch with rocks. Aidan brought stickers, so we started to distribute them to the kids. The kids immediately flocked to us holding out their hands yelling “bharra wala dehdo” or in English: give me the big one. They were all fascinated by the varying sizes and colors of the stickers.
We then walked to the field to organize a game of kabaddi. We watched the kids play for a while until the teenagers at the slum asked us if we wanted to play. They split us up into the already established kid’s teams and we had a lot of fun. After teaching the kids different games, they grew fond of us. Some even decided to share their names (a fact they previously chose to keep secret).
The Doon School students finally arrived and showed us their new model for solar panel powered light bulbs. However, as we were installing the bulbs into a house, a man started giving the students a hard time. He questioned the students by bringing up the point that the unfortunate of the slum shouldn’t be a tourist attraction. “Why bring people to show off naked India? You’re giving our country a bad name!” Before leaving, all the children came to say goodbye. They didn’t seem to care about the arising political questions. Some kids went as far to say “this is the real India – let them see.” In the bus, we discussed what our purpose was there. Though maybe a case of confirmation bias, we decided that our reasons were just. And, like many days before, we concluded by going to the Doon S chool for Dinner and sleep.
Anuj and Josh