These past four weeks in India have flown by; I can’t believe we are coming back to the U.S. in just a few days. We all enjoyed the field visits and the chance to talk with the rural villagers about their experiences and opinions about eyeglasses. I’ll also really miss the food (I tried doing a lassi a day – quite successful). Here are some memorable moments:
Village Interviews – we interviewed a couple women, and when we asked what their occupation was, they named a few roles, then eventually said “We do EVERYTHING!” I guess some things don’t change wherever you are in the world. :) We went to an eye screening camp that was held at a school, and here is my teammate Elvira giving this girl a high FIVE!
The great thing about these kids was that they were initially very shy, but they would eventually inch closer and closer to us out of curiosity, and at some point, all shyness would go away. It was cute.
Gender differences are still prevalent though, at least in the villages. On one of the drives into a village, we saw women picking wheat, moving bricks, carrying maneuver piles, etc. Then we interviewed a group of men (who were playing cards at the time), and while most of them had their eyes checked and saw the benefits of glasses, none of them saw the need for their wives to get their eyes checked.
In yet another village, we interviewed this man. Pretty healthy for someone who is 102 years old, eh?
Unpaved Paths – some parts of yesterday’s drive to the village was especially bumpy, though we saw a lot of road construction in progress. We asked our driver what he thought of all the road construction, and he said “If the roads are too smooth, drivers will fall asleep, so it’s better to keep the roads bumpy.” Ha! We also had another driver who, as we approached the toll booth, busted a u-turn on the highway, cut through oncoming traffic, drove onto a side dirt path, barely passed through a 8-ft vertical pole, cut back onto the oncoming traffic, and continued back along the highway - just to avoid paying toll.
Jaipur – we met up with a couple of the MAP teams in Jaipur one weekend, and we all attended a dinner at the Chokki Dhani Village, which consisted of music, dance, and entertainment. It was similar to a carnival, but with a Rajasthan theme. It was my first time on a camel! And as b-school students, of course we had to dress up!