Saturday the 21st was our first day in Loni. After 26+ hours of flying and maybe one hour of sleep we started our day. We first were given a tour of the Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences the campus we will be interning at and living by Mr. Jana. He showed us where the hospital, mess hall and canteen was. The canteen is where we will be buying all of our bottled water.
Sunday the 22nd was a day of rest. In India Sunday considered a holiday, we were able to organize our rooms and catch up on some much needed sleep.
Monday the 23rd we finally were able to meet Dr. Somasundaram (or Dr. Soma) which we have all heard so much about. Dr. Soma is the director of The Center for Social Medicine (CSM). He gave us an overview of India, and the community of Loni specifically. We watched a documentary on Padmashri Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil highlighting many of the accomplishments I have mentioned in an earlier blog post.
Tuesday the 24th was packed full of touring and embracing first hand what the “Pravara Integrated Rural Development Model” really is. We did this by touring the sugar factory that this town was built upon as well as the Chemical and Biogas Plants and Dairy Factory. I am blown away by the self-sustainabilty of the sugar factory in particular, nothing seems to go to waste. How brilliant to optimize all levels of productivity using biogas and fuel and other byproducts such as molasses and liquor as a separate resource of income. Finally we were able to visit the Pravara Public schools where the children completely stole our hearts. I think India has the most adorable children. During the second half of our day we were able to visit two colleges, PVP College and the Home Science College. Both campuses were beautiful and I am continuously impressed by the accomplishments that have been made by these universities as well as the Pravara school district as a whole. The success of these schools and the level of education that these students are getting is amazing.
Touring the Sugar Factory
At the distillery, alcohol is one of the sugar cane byproducts as well as molasses
Visiting the Pravara Public schools
Wednesday the 25th we were accompanied by Mr. Jori to the Co-Operative Society and the agriculture center where we were briefed on what the scientists were doing in efforts to research the chemically enhanced as well as organic bio-pesticides. These scientists are working with the farmers developing a personal relationship by helping and educating them on what to use on what crops and different ways to optimize their success in farming. We were then able to visit a farm first hand where we walked through just a small part of the 60 acres of land learning about the different fruit grown there including pomegranate, guava and mangos which we ate right off of the tree. It was such an amazing experience and I am so grateful to have been welcomed to the farm. One of the highlights of my Wednesday was when we visited the “deaf, blind and dumb” school. I am so throughly impressed by the intelligence, talent and joy that each one of the children illuminated. In one of the last classrooms we visited a blind boy sang us a song that brought me to tears. I was taken back by the beauty of each one of these amazing children. The second half of Wednesday we visited a trade school where we were able to first hand work with some of the boys in the mechanic shop as they were working with different motors and parts of the car. Finally we visited the little flower school where we toured a beautiful campus with some wonderful children, at this school they we at recess so we were able to watch them play sports and interact with each other rather then sitting in a classroom doing school work which was fun to see.
Eating fruit from the trees at the local farm
Visiting the Trade School
Thursday the 26th we visited the College of Engineering, College of Pharmacy, the College of Agriculture and Biotechnology and the Institute of Business Management and Administration once again I was so impressed by the level of intelligence and accomplishments made by each school. At the college of Engineering we were given a bouquet of flowers. We were told that in India guests were treated as Gods. The kindness and generosity of this country has blown me away and I am so grateful be here learning and growing amongst some amazing people. The Institute of Business Management and Administration had equipment was high tech, class rooms that were architecturally gorgeous and a extremely kind facility. It was very interesting to tour the College of Pharmacy and get a better understanding of what goes into not only the creation and testing of pharmaceuticals but also the packaging, such as how tablets, capsules and injectables are packaged and tested for quality control. At the college of Agriculture and Biotechnology we were greeted by very friendly Dr.’s that did a great job of explaining and showing us first hand the efforts being made in bio-pesticides and insects that are our “friends and enemies”. The advances in research being made to identify what insects are wanted to protect the plants and those that need to be eliminated were impressive, but to find out that many of their efforts in insecticides were 100% organic was very exciting.
Flowers from the college of Engineering
The Institute of Business Management and Administration
Friday the 27th we were able to join in a yoga class put on for a group of woman who are community health workers. CSM has started a program called the “health bank” where they are training woman from 8 different villages on different health models that they can learn and then bring back to their villages to introduce and implement. For example the first health model was how to dress, clean and treat simple wounds. The model the yoga model is the third. CSM brought in a yoga instructor to introduce simple and effective moves that the women can teach the members of their village. This was an awesome experience and with the help of some Indian students translating what the yoga instructor was saying we were able to participate. I feel so blessed to be here and to be experiencing everything that I am. I can now say that I have done mind and body yoga in India, how cool is that.
Community Health workers learning yoga practices to bring back and implement in their villages
Some crazy yoga poses