Saturday, March 22nd ~ Driving from Jaipur to Agra
Actually I should rephrase that. We were riding in a bus, not driving. I can not even imagine trying to drive here. There are absolutely NO rules to the road other than the largest vehicle, or whomever wins the game of chicken goes first. People drive on either side of the road, there is zero order that I can see. I have yet to see a turn signal used, in fact I’m not sure that the vehicles here even have them.
Motorcycles often carry three or four people and of course seeing a helmet is a rarity. The cars we have ridden in did not have seat belts in the back seat, or perhaps one side of a belt, but the fastener part was missing.
Dodging people and animals as well as oncoming traffic is the norm.
Our first stop was a visit to a small private school. The Gate 1 Foundation “adopts” a local school that is in need. We are invited to bring school supplies to donate if we want to for our visit. We did a similar stop on our trip to Turkey.
The school here in India is open air with three sides enclosed and a 1/2 wall on the fourth side. The children sit on concrete or hard packed dirt floors in neat rows. They remind me of the schools we have seen in Guatemala and I am grateful for the improved schools being built by Miracles in Action. Sorry, shameless plug for a charity I am proud to support.
There is a chalk board at one end and otherwise the walls are bare. Their flip-flop style shoes are neatly lined up against the wall, however why they need to be removed to walk on the dirt floors baffles me.
The children range in age from 3 to 16. A couple of songs were sung and numbers recited. Few speak much English as they are taught primarily in Hindi. They are well-mannered. Most wear a school uniform.
As we passed out pencils, erasers, note pads, chalk and other small items hopeful eyes searched our faces for even the smallest gift. It was a good reminder of how privileged our students in the USA are, even in our poorest communities.
Chand Baori (Stepwell)
Next stop was the town of Abhaneri for a visit to Chand Baori, the deepest stepwell in India. I had not heard of a stepwell before, so was curious as to what it would look like. A stepwell was used to collect water during the monsoon period and would hopefully see the village through the hot and dry months. Covering a large area, with rows of steps in an inverse pyramid pattern downward, it has 13 stories and 3500 steps. It is quite impressive to see.
The air was also several degrees cooler near the bottom of the well, so it became a gathering place when the heat became excessive. It is no longer used today, but a vivid reminder of mankind’s creativity for survival.
Marshat Mata Temple
Right next door was a small temple dedicated to Harshat Mata, the goddess of joy and happiness.
And just a few more random shots to show what the streets look like in this part of India.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Where to begin??? The more we see of India the more I realize just how comfortable and luxurious my life is in contrast. But for today I will choose how grateful I am for an abundance of free-flowing clean water.