Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Define "Rural"

One can often guess what I’ve done each day based on the vocabulary I’ve learned. Like the time in Thailand that Louise came home from work and the Thai whiteboard said “toilet,” “broken,” “flood,” and “Oh no!” On my first day in Kalleda I learned the Telugu words for sun, rice, buffalo, cow, hen, and goat. And this was before I went to the farm. So how rural am I? Let’s just say I am reconsidering the validity of describing Williamstown, MA as “a small town in the middle of nowhere.”

Kalleda is loosely connected to a string of other villages along one main dirt road. The surrounding area is all farmland where I have seen cotton, corn, and rice fields, as well as guava and mango groves. There are water buffalo, cows, and goats that are led down the road past our house on the way to pasture every morning. The land near us is flat but there are small hills in the distance and palm trees scattered in between. It takes about five minutes to walk through town and on the way we pass by houses ranging from plaster, to brick, to mud huts with thatched roofs.

Our little village is on the up and up though. They recently installed a water treatment plant where the villagers can get clean drinking water. In the same lot they have also built a public toilet because most of the villagers do not have toilets, showers, or running water in their homes. Kalleda also has electricity . . . sometimes. We share electricity with the next village according to a schedule that changes every week. Even when we are supposed to have power it might go out and on occasion the generators that power the water go out as well. But it’s all a part of getting into the local frame of mind, taking things as they come, and enjoying what we have when we have it, whether it’s internet, electricity, or water.

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