Life in the Village
By: Riya Bhalla and Ishaan Koradia
We started the day off by going to a bird sanctuary which was located right next to the back waters. It was hard to see birds at first, there wasn’t that many birds flying around, but the first thing the tour guide pointed out was a bat hanging upside down from the tree. We had never seen something like that before, so we tried to get a picture but it flew away. Anyways, we continued our walk down the trail. We were surprised to see that there were actually a few houses where people lived in the bird sanctuary. After walking about 2 KM, we arrived to the watch tower. We climbed the watch tower, and finally, we saw the birds. Since it’s going to be hard to describe what we saw, here is a picture from the watch tower.
After the bird sanctuary and breakfast, we went on a boat ride to tour a near by village where we met villagers and participated in daily activities. One thing they showed us was making a thick string by spinning coconut fibers. They showed us how effective it was making the string by machine rather than by hand. They explained how it connected back to the overall culture of the region and how much they rely on the coconut tree for various purposes. The coconut flesh is used for food, the leaves of the coconut tree is used for shades, and the coconut water is used for drinking. This demonstrates how sustainable their lifestyle is in this village and many others, also. Here is a picture of Nithya spinning the fiber.
The next part of the village tour was focused on the regional agriculture. Crops grown in the village were tapioca, small green chili’s, coconuts, bananas, but most importantly rice. Most of the time is devoted to taking care of the rice farm. Workers are on the field every day making sure that everything is in order for farming season (cultivating/planting the seeds/harvesting) These are all parts of the agriculture which is important for any thriving state. It also gave us a nice opportunity to visit a rice paddy in person
The last part of the tour was a brief boat ride in the back waters. It was amazing to see the amount of work people do during the day. For example, we saw villagers washing and drying clothes in the river, and saw many snake boats bringing fish back to the village houses. We really enjoyed learning about the day to day lives of the villagers, and found it surprising they can survive easily without using modern day technology.
Riya and Ishaan are two of 8 students in Indiaspora’s inaugural HeritageINDIA Program. A unique, immersive, 3-week summer program, this initiative gives high school students of Indian descent the opportunity to connect to their ancestral homeland. Students experience and engage with India’s rich and diverse cultural history by completing hands-on projects, participating in stimulating discussions, and building friendships with a cohort that will share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. With the exciting theme of India’s Riches: History, Culture, Diversity, & Democracy, students visit three areas of India that are geographically and culturally diverse, yet all very much represent India: New Delhi, Gujarat, and Kerala.