Monday, 30 May 2016

It has been 4 months...

It has been 4 months, since a new chapter, a new journey has started. It has had many unique moments, challenges, days of travelling (in total), super tasty food (which made me quite surprised). However, I still cannot forget the reaction of the officer in Larnaca Airport who saw me flying to India and asked the reason behind this. As I told him that I am coming here to work in a small community, his reaction was “Woaww! Be careful and I wish you all the best good luck!” This conversation made me think what I was actually about to do is to start a brand new life in a land with so many surprises that I could not think of at that time! This was a bit frightening and made me nervous. Yeah, I should be careful from a person with a Western life perspective. However, as I kept moving on, I found out that I should be careful not because a bad accident can happen such as an attack from a monkey around our house or an unlucky choice of a food can cause some trouble later on, but more because of the things can go unexpectedly with India bringing surprises to a daily life.

You never know or guess what can happen in a day here. This actually makes me more enthusiastic on the daily routines of the life, making the experience full of thrills and actually fun! You start the day with everything well planned in your mind then ending up at the end of the day doing something completely different, for example being involved in a “Dam” being invited from a known family or even a random person who is interested on to hang out with “Angrieji” people. Such attractions during a daily life become the highlights of the days here for me, being involved in cultural wonders of Hindu family, tasting amazing foods, chatting and even doing yoga after the dinner.

Random Dam Invitations turn into good memories

On the one hand, such attractions can trip the plans involving your projects. I can recall such events on my past 4 months here easily. For instance, a project related visit to clay mines in local area in order to get some clay for building can end up with being involved in wrestling event as part of the festival which took place just in the clay mines where most of the people were watching, community men being involved. Or for example, cancelling training for making bamboo furniture as the trainer person from local community turns out as a drunk man and being inconsistent and unreliable. Although such surprises can be annoying, they are all challenges, which make the whole experience colourful. I need to add the unexpected trips, which were decided in 5 minutes, either project related or for weekends. I can honestly say that such experiences are the ones who keep more places in our minds and of course in our hearts.

As I look behind to make a small feedback to myself for this blog, I am amazed on how much I learnt and I am still learning. I have learnt not only about the culture, local community, foods, language (although I still have big struggle with), but also within eco building premises. As a manager and a newbie coordinator, I now have a freshly growing knowledge, practical experience and more courage to handle the problems that can be small in our daily lives but are bigger in India! Before I have acquired myself as a non-practical engineer, whereas now I am getting into a medium-level practical engineer where I can lead as manager, plan ahead, handle challenges, and create solutions! These can become handy in our house for building shelves, shoe racks, ReStore furniture, garden solutions and the newest ones clay stove and a clay oven or these can even be project related solutions! The latest ones are just because we have been out of gas in the house for several days. 

Clay stove after having no gas at home
Greenhouse construction with a spectecular view

In these past four months, I have met many people with beautiful personalities, some being interesting, funny faces, serious faces, personalities with warm hearts and some people just staring at me endlessly with a lot of curiosity. I would like to mention about the interest of people on me. Hindu people seeing a guy with dreads, I can be a Guru or Baba- spiritual person in Hindu society. By the way my whole country, Cyprus, should be proud of me or award me as a representative of Cyprus as I have so far informed many people about my little island, they are now aware of the existance of Cyprus, an island that exists in the Mediterranean Sea!

PS.1---Another thing that I should mention is how the cow dunks and cow urine is an amazing thing! People here use them for building, burning material, natural pesticide, natural fertilizer; this should be why Cow is a holy animal here! I have used it as building material and it gives a soothing effect to me while mixing it whit my hands! 

PS.2---I am writing this blog post in a day that started with 35-37 degrees Celsius and I am working under hot sun and now, I can barely have access to internet or electricity due to a heavy storm and rain outside with a show of lightnings to our view!

So, one should accept the challenges and surprises here in India as advantages and fully enjoy them!

Faik Nizam - Cyprus
Eco-Building Project Coordinator/Manager in Rait

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