Friday, July 02, 2010

Oh India...and how things work....

Interesting thing happened yesterday....we donated a huge pile of books to a little school about 9 kilomteres out of Pushka, it is a small brand new private school and has well over 100 kids already lined up to attend. The people starting the school have campaigned heavily in Pushkar for donations to allow the children's education to be heavily subsidized. [we have been told].
The interesting thing is the people starting the school and why they can ask for and expectt such help from Pushkar businesses.
They are in a position to make life very difficult for our hotel business, and my first meeting with them 18 months ago did not go well at all. Anyone who attanded a wedding we held from our home will know who I mean....
I was a bit loudly Australian, [as opposed to discreet in an Indian way- oh how green of me!!] in showing how un-impressed I was with someone with their hand-out for a "gift". From that time my name has been mud with them.
That all changed when we said we were happy to donate books to help children go to school, to such an extent I am now spoken to directly as "Madame-ji" by that certain government representative and he was extremely helpful when Praveen was in hospital, visiting us there and introducing us to the guy who runs the hospital...who then checked on everything for us regularly almost like we were visiting royalty, and making quick appointments for us with the Heart Specialist.Truely very helpful of him.
I am in a bit of a quandry...are you being ultruistic helping kids get into school when you know if you don't life would not be so easy in town?
The truth of it is Praveen and I would have donated books to any school starting up- probably not such a huge pile....
With these ones we plasted our name all over them "donated by Our Pukka Place- Chawandia" because we wanted to make sure they would not be resold. Going to the school and seeing all these lovely children with a brighter future because they get a good education does make us happy.
If you have to pay bribes to ease the flow of events in your town, getting kids into school is the way to go!!

It is beautiful out here in a way Rajastahn can be, but very dry, all the trees are copiced to feed animals....the farmers are very poor and the late monsoon must be very scary for them....
There are no local libraries so I think showing kids the internet is like opening a huge window of opportunity for them to learn about almost anything!!We put books in kids hands ourselves, took lots of photos and asked could we pop in any time to see how things are going. Wanted to make then aware we want to see the school give the kids the chance it should.
Many parents were outside lined up, enrolling children, the certain govenment person comes from that village- so there will be a lot of pressure to make it a good school. The people of the village are not under his jurisdiction so they could put pressure on him I hope, if necessary.

The episode evokes mixed feelings in my, but the way things operate here is through 'gifts' oiling the wheels of progress. In Australia it would have been a mountain of paper work and fees paid and restrictions placed- perhaps more documented, still money out of your pocket- at least our gifts also get things done quickly! An interesting old world....
and kids are in school! yippee.
School starts here on Monday, so many happy parents after the long, hot summer holidays.

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