HAVE founder Gerry Feltham reports on Recent India Tour

H.A.V.E.’s three-week tour 3 years ago in 2006 involved 6 volunteers: three people from Vancouver; two from Haliburton/Minden, Ont.; and I, from Glovertown, Nfld. It started in Kolkata and finished at Chennai.

Gerry Feltham

HAVE founder Gerry Feltham at the site of a well sponsored by HAVE at Madavaneri

Our second and most recent six-week, 2009 tour consisted, for the first 12 days, of three men (two from B.C. and one from Newfoundland); and for the remaining period with two women for a total group of five volunteers.

In our second tour, we travelled in reverse of the first by starting in Chennai and mostly train travelled up the East Coast (via Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal) to Kolkata; and from there, with three-to-five-day stopovers in Kolkata, Bodha Gaya, Varanasi, Dehra Dun/Mussoorie, westward and north to the Himalayan foothills, and finally Delhi, from where we departed to Canada.

The general purposes of both H.A.V.E. tours was to familarize us, especially those who have not previously visited India, of the rural areas and the need for safe drinking water. We also wanted to see what H.A.V.E. and its indigenous non-governmental partners were doing with safe drinking water systems, such as tube wells, for the particularly needy villagers, and to gain awareness of overall rural development in specific parts of the country.

"It is also important to have face-to-face communicative experiences with those who are being helped, and visa versa."

It is also important to have face-to-face communicative experiences with those who are being helped, and visa versa.

The tour in 2009, as with tour in 2006, managed within limited timeframes and circumstances to accomplish (due to the tremendously fine, generous efforts of each of our partners and the terrific unity within our group) most of the tour’s goals. Tour 2009’s prime aim was to visit and to photograph the village well sites in H.A.V.E.’s “Sponsorship and In memory of…” wells program and see the pipeline projects (gravity-fed from mountain springs), including the 1986 Patrini/Donk village pipeline under repair in the Musoorie area of the Himalayan foothills.

In my opinion these tours are invaluable, in that they provide everyone – visitors, partners, and villagers – with an opportunity to gain valuable insights, especially regarding rural needs and the importance of national and international development; to identify with, understand and appreciate villagers, nationals, and internationals; and to see H.A.V.E./CIDA/indigenous partners’ efforts and their contributions all coming to fruition at the village level.

For me personally, such tours strengthens my conviction that H.A.V.E.’s cause is essential and deserves promotion. Thus, such trips serve as boosters by me and the other participants of H.A.V.E.’s efforts in Canada and abroad.

"For me personally, such tours strengthens my conviction that H.A.V.E.'s cause is essential and deserves promotion."

Gerard (Gerry) Feltham,
Tours’ Organizer

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