We left for SPREAWS on Thursday, Feb. 3rd in the afternoon after visiting several villages in Chittoor.  We arrived  late afternoon (6PM) after a 5 hr drive.

We visited 5 villages and  an office of SPREAWS on Friday. These were 5 of the 10 wells we assisted with in this project. We met some of the staff including the leader Sajid Hussein.  We had an amazing meal with his family at their home.  Although we only spent a day with this organization, it was good day. They are working with some remote and landless labour communities.   It was a great  way to spend your 64th birthday !!!!!

We travelled back to Vellore on Friday night.

Saturday we spent with the SUCHI team putting together info required for CIDA reporting and getting a better understanding of the SUCHI tube well and Eco San toilet projects.

Sunday we left for Chennai, visited the sites of this city and then late in the afternoon flew home …..got home about noon Monday…after 40 hours of travelling with very little sleep.

The access to the internet was only available on 4-5 days of  the 18 days of our trip, so the postings to this blog was difficult… thanks for your patience.

All in all a good trip…I hope Paul, Carolyn and Marty will add to this blog at some point in time.


  1. Carolyn Langdon and Marty Scheller says

    O.K. O.K. I’m blogging.
    I’ll never forget the bumpy drive up the mountain dodging road building equipment, motorbikes and banana eating monkeys. As we rounded the last switchback at the top of the mountain the broad Deccan Plateau and the city of Katapa spread before us. We drove past fields of tumeric root, sunflowers in bloom, papaya fruit groves and rice paddies. The Deccan Plateau has been plagued by drought for the last 10 years and this once productive agricultural area now ekes out one crop a year and at that, the yield has dropped for lack of irrigation water. Mr. Hussain the Secretary of SPREWS told us that 75% of the 40 villages that their organization works with have no water of their own. In other villages the wells empty in the dry season or the government water towers are old, ill-maintained and consequently the water is unsafe.
    Of all the communities that we’d visited in the past two weeks I was struck by the very visible poverty in these Katapa area villages. People, particularly women were visibly suffering from anemia, cataracts, parasites, and respiratory ailments. Everyone seemed to have a cough including us. We saw villagers tending herds of goats. We also saw women and men returning home from long days of labour in the fields. They are landless labourers for whom the upper castes depend on for cheap manual labour. Paul asked Mr. Hussain how families were coping with high food prices. He replied that both adults in a family had to work. SPREWS helped one village make bamboo baskets to sell in the market. Although seasonal it augments their meagre wages. A tailoring workshop was also set up to train 20 women. We had a chance to view all of this activity. Although desperately poor these people were incredibly gracious and kind. They were very curious about us and we did our best to connect with them, playing silly games with the children and smiling broadly at the women who would initially turn away in shyness but then plead with us to stay, no doubt to distract them just a little bit longer from their difficult and isolated lives. Poverty is isolating in a country where petrol is $1.50 a litre and the walk to market is a long way. I warmly shook the hands of as many people as I could. We lingered in mutual touch, my hand grasping their arm and theirs mine, these Dalit people, these formerly untouchables of India.

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