Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Surviving Without Gas!

I am currently working as the ReStore/Microfinance project manager in Rait, Himachal Pradesh, as well as the ReStore Supply Chain Coordinator for EduCare.

Being in India for almost a year now, I learned a lot about myself, about others, but also about how resourceful human beings can be! Sometimes, you have to deal with power cuts, sometimes there is no water running, and sometimes you run out of gas!  Not being able to shower and smell for a whole week is one thing that I can do! But, not being able to cook and taking away my body juice, ohh my god this is too much!

Just kidding!  Human beings are capable of always finding a solution to their problems, isn’t this amazing? Not that I didn’t know that before coming to India, but sometimes you truly realize things when you are facing them.

So, this is the story of when the Rait center ran out of gas!

It happened on a Saturday morning, we woke up and, as usual, we want to cook our breakfast. As Pooja turned the stove on, no gas was coming. No pressure, don’t panic! We tried to call Uncle, our landlord, but he was not answering. We, then, went to his house but he was not there. Can we panic now? No, of course not! We will just have to deal with it. So, how do we do that? Well, we go back to the basics!

Lunch was not such a problem because usually people go to the dabba in Rait to eat something but we had to be prepared for dinner.

Since we are eight in the house now, we divided people into cooking teams. That night, Pooja, Sylvia, Fayk and Andrea were cooking.

Cooking on the fire thanks to Pooja!
Led by Pooja, they scavenged some woods and paper in and around the house and used bricks to build a fire place. They set up everything on the roof of our house. They brought the utensils and had previously cut the vegetables. They managed to make a nice fire. Before cooking on fire like this, you need to dip the pans in soil and water so they do not get dark and ruined.

It was pretty awesome to look at how they managed to cook all the food like this. They made pakora and curry with rice and, I gotta say, it was really tasty. The hardest part during the cooking was the smoke because it was getting into their eyes. And let’s not forget that at this time of the year, it is really cold in Himachal Pradesh. Cooking in the dark with fire and the cold was a big challenge, but they did it! The taste was so different than when we cook on the stove. It did take a long time to be ready, of course, but the result was amazing!

Interns having a great time despite the inconveniences of cooking on the fire
The day after, it would be our team cooking (Kelly, Craig, Federica and I), so we got some good tips that night. We were already talking about what to cook the next night and when we should start cutting the vegetables to have the dinner ready by 8 o’clock.

On our way to the Fun Club on Sunday, we saw a truck delivering gas tanks in Rait. We did the exchange and we didn’t have to cook on fire that night. I was pretty disappointed because I was really looking forward to doing it. It was not the first time the Rait team had run out of gas and this won’t be the last time, I’m sure. When it happened, they had to cook outside for a whole week before getting a new gas tank. Fortunately, Pooja was there to save the day and she showed us everything.

So, if it happens to you, don’t panic! Team work and a little bit of imagination always makes it work.

Mathilde Buchet- France
REstore Supply Chain Coordinator, Rait (Himachal Pradesh)

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