Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday March 21 & Monday March 22

Yesterday, Sunday, March 21, we traveled north of Lucknow (written as लखनऊ in Hindi) to see the landscape & the Buddha Resort in Bahraich where we had lunch. In between passing through villages jam-packed with people, shops, vehicles & animals, there are open fields, grass & trees, the Gangahar river, and smaller rivers that eventually flow into the Ganges.

Kids playing in the river, and cattle grazing.

This cow was trying to lick my face.

We saw many facilities for building bricks and women harvesting crops, including mustard seeds. The majority of the state’s population depends on agricultural activities, and we saw evidence of that in our drive, with people herding cattle & goats, farming & harvesting. The villages were selling a lot of sugarcane, grains, and fruits. We also saw many hand pumps in the villages & people getting water, bathing, washing clothes, and filling up containers.

At the end of this post, there is a 4 minute video that Jim took of one of the villages as we drove through, which will paint a better picture of what it’s like with the crowds & noise. As is the case with other major cities in India, in addition to the many villages that are like what you see & hear in the video clip, Lucknow has major highways & roads, gardens & parks, and beautiful monuments and buildings. The major intersections have roundabouts and major streets have traffic lights, although no one seems to follow them & cars just go through red lights.

The Parliament Building of UP

Monday, March 22, is World Water Day, and another blazing hot day in UP. We met with Mr. P.S. Ojha, who is the State Coordinator for the Bio Energy Mission Cell in the Department of Planning for the Government of UP. Security was the tightest we’ve experienced of any of the offices we’ve visited; we had to get a picture ID and be escorted to see him. Mr. Ojha’s organization is active at the grass-roots level on bio-energy, and is focused on biological sources such as human, cattle, and horticultural waste. He gave us a DVD containing a documentary on a project they worked with UNICEF on for converting waste to organic fertilizer. He also mentioned a project that a U.S. group proposed to treat sewage water for irrigation purposes; this water can be further treated & purified to be used for drinking water. Mr. Ojha is going to coordinate a joint meeting with other government agencies including the Jal Nigam, for Wednesday.

Rest of the day was spent catching up on documenting notes and sending follow-up e-mails.

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