Monday, October 17, 2011

Rural Rajasthan

#ibmcsc #india13
“Come!” exclaims Mr. Bapna, the General Manager of Coordination at Morarka Foundation, signalling the start to our journey north to rural Rajasthan and the city of Nawalgarh, the origin city of the Mororka family. Fay, Erman, and I eagerly put down our chais and boarded the 4-wheel drive car that would be our transporation for the next two days. In order to get a better feel for what the Morarka Foundation does, Mr. Bapna had personally arranged our two day trip to visit some of the farms that found success using the organic methods developed by the Morarka Foundation. After 3 hours of driving through the dry Rajasthan countryside and several small villages, we came to the first farm. Using extra money earned through their switching to organic production, the family that we met was able to construct some simple guest rooms to accommodate ecotourists that flock to their farm from all over the world. After giving us a tour of their farm, their animal shelters, and showing us their latest organic experiences, the family led us to their one-room house and had us sit on the floor in front of low tables. They then proceeded to fill our metal plates with delicious organic Rajasthani food. The customary way to eat in Rajasthan is by using only the right hand to break pieces of chapati (flat bread) and use that to scoop up food. I gave it my best shot and was given some tips by Mr. Bapna. The secret, it turns out, is to not care about how much food you get all over your fingers. Especially since at the end of the meal hand washing is expected. We were all blown away by the hospitality and warmth this family showed us. Turns out, this is the Rajasthan way. The rest of the day and day after were filled with more farms, all in much better shape after having switched to organic. The original farm to follow the Morarka methods is extremely productive and now has four brothers working 6 acres. Others are building guest rooms for ecotourism or building a new and bigger house for their family. All the families are clearly grateful to the Morarka Foundation for not only teaching them organic methods but of supporting them through the transition as well.

A thriving field of eggplants

Me, Erman, and Fay inside the Morarka Museum

Riding camels and getting henna at a farm that also accepts guests

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