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People's Environmental Awareness - Khati (PEAK) Follow PEAK with the financial assistance of World Nomads on the path to delivering educational, water supplies & solar home lighting systems to Kumaon villages....

Spring is in the air

INDIA | Wednesday, 25 July 2012 | Views [765]

Myna bird enjoying a solar panel perch in the sun...

Myna bird enjoying a solar panel perch in the sun...

March 2012

The verdant green barley crop dances in the breeze. Soon stored potatoes - what little there are from last years dismal crop - buried deep in earthen holes will be extracted and planted in the fallow fields rich with piles of manure and leaves. One of the women's first jobs, an onerous task done every day of the year, is to 'muck out' the cattle shed beneath their dwellings and transport the nutrient rich goodies via a cane basket strapped to your back to the families fields. The end result of those strategically placed piles dotted in the fields, to later be spread out evenly, yield luscious organic crops. In Khati (and in the immediate vicinity) there are no chemical agricultural inputs of any sort.

The constant forest foraging for leaves, bamboo, oak leaves and wood continues, of course this is a daily part of a women's working life. The village women have been chopping green wood with little hindrance (a practice usually frowned upon), though there are rumours the Panchayat will soon hold a meeting to halt the practice. This is the first year we can recall that women are complaining about how far they have to go for wood collection. Wood is vital for cooking and warmth in a harsh, cold, Himalayan climate but it is a precious resource. So far any gentle persuasion on peAk's behalf on the benefits of planting seedlings or forest rotation is falling on deaf ears. All new ideas or concepts take time.

It has been unseasonally warm for March. Solar installation in Dhoor, Okhalia, Shilshor, Libbhurghur & Jagai is completed, with Ritang to be added to the list in the next week. The improved weather conditions and bountiful sunshine have worked in our favour. I'm now used to an army of solar panels silently charging batteries gracing peAk's bathroom roof. Though sometimes there is an 'army' of torches.... can I add the latter has been hugely popular to negotiate those rocky paths at night. In the photo above both batteries and torches are enjoying some sun, along with the Myna bird! At every step of the Solar Home Lighting Project way hospitality at every household is overwhelming. On some days 'gifts' mysteriously arrive on our doorstep. It may be a bag of potatoes, a jar of honey fresh from a hive or rajma beans ....

Scott was called down to Anand's house with two year old Ribina running a fever. Her baby brother, one of our newest inhabitants, six week old Jatin, was recently found dead in his basket. A victim of cot death - the second in the last few years - the mother is grief stricken. Sometimes I'm amazed (though I understand) at how everyone is so practical and matter of fact about the death. It is a sad reality that there wouldn't be a household in town that hasn't lost at least one baby or child. 



Tags: cot death, india, khati, solar home lighting, uttarakhand



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