Awakened by a pack of howling foxes, I was slapped in the face by another hot and humid day in India. I started the morning early in my own personal sanctuary; our breezy balcony overlooking our jungle backyard where pigs frolic and water buffalo graze freely –a far cry from the raccoons we’re used to.
After a breakfast we’ve grown to know too well –mint and potato sandwiches on white bread- the two groups presented their finding based on interviews we had conducted through our respective organizations. As our group is working with Magic Bus, we had spent the previous day interviewing mentors of the program, collecting insights into how we could assist with the new curriculum they’re designing, where their resources are lacking and where our unique skill sets of both 2D and 3D design could fit. Our presentation was met with a somewhat defeating critique, as issues of sustainability, cultural barriers and lofty goals were addressed. Back to the drawing board.
After another brainstorming session and some bean curry with roti, we piled into the van back to Magic Bus, where we met with the head honchos and discussed how the project will roll out. Our ideas were better received, and we decided on conducting a pilot session with the children of Zuarinagar, with activities relating to the mapping of their community to help this migratory community form a connection with their environment and a better understanding of public and shared spaces. We’ll follow up with exercises to promote understanding of waste management, separation of garbage, the effect that littering has on creating blockages within the open sewers and the health issues it creates around dumping in public spaces. Our ideas are still in their early stages, but we headed back home feeling optimistic that we had found a direction. We got our second wind.
We still had the van for a couple hours, so Raksha, Ali and I drove out to Margao, since I had never been. We picked up some supplies for our session with the kids: colourful paper, crayons, a ball and a world map. We then headed into the market for some sensory overload; merchants pedaled underwear and wedding dresses next to bags of unidentified spices and fruits, Goan sausages made from unknown meats swung from the rafters and flies swarmed between them. We picked up a couple petticoats for the girls’ sarees, and I got a dabba (an India lunch box for you uncultured Western folk). We dodged motorcycles and pedestrians and found our way back to the car, to head to the ice cream shop everyone had been raving about all week. Closed, of course… must be running on Goan time, where the traffic moves fast but the people move slow. We settled for some mango lassi and I played a round of Indian Dessert Roulette, landing on something called Besan Ladoo. It was… interesting. Back to Heaven Goa for a night of lazy pool hangs and rejoicing over Indian-Italian fusion for dinner.