Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today was my first trip to the villages. It was like something out of a movie.  The weather was hot and steamy, cows and buffalo were milling about, and the highway was as hectic as ever (When I reached for the seat belt, I was told, "Don't worry!  You're in India.  It's very safe.  No one uses the seat belt!" Despite these reassurances, I thought it wise to still buckle up.). The purpose of the trip was for Kamal, my advisor (accompanying him, besides me, was another professor and a Masters student) to inquire if the rice farmers were using the water-saving device installed by PAU (Punjab Agricultural University) and to convince the unconverted to adopt the device.  After our first stop, however, our trip sputtered to a halt - literally. The car would not start. We tried the Little Miss Sunshine move and desperately pushed the car practically through the whole village. Villagers came by to help but it was to little avail.  After an hour, two villagers lumbered down the road with a battery, but the car was like a determined Catholic girl, and did not give in.  Finally, after collectively loosing about 15 pounds in water weight standing under the afternoon sun, my companions and I were driven to a small town and one of my companions' brothers came to our rescue with a car.  This was followed by lunch at the brother's wife's parents' house - a huge house with a/c throughout most of it.  Indians treat their guests very lavishly, and we were soon being fed rounds of fruit, then juice, then a tasty meal prepared by the house's staff (An unfortunate incident with some street-stall-purchased noodles kept me from truly enjoying this meal but from what I could tell, it seemed delicious). 

Searching the field for the water-saving meter

The farmers came to our rescue and helped us locate it
Chattin with the farmers
These birds are often hanging near rice paddies
The grown this crop for fuel; only the cane is burned
These are some kind of converted vehicle common in the villages.

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