22.03.13 | returning to hariharpur
Since the 15th of March, Alex and Leika have returned to Hariharpur and Ivar joined us from the 18th. The time quickly passed by sorting out accommodation, finding our way in the area and trying to make ourselves comfortable. We were grateful to the generous support from our landlord and to the fact that our house is only three kilometres away from Hariharpur. We went to the village almost every day in order to meet the local people and to learn more about them. It was great to meet the people who we have got to know through our previous trips and especially the teachers. Together with the teachers, we started to plan for the ceremony where we will invite the community for the first activity on site. We agreed on having a pooja which is a Hinduism ritual performance and to cut the lentil trees growing on the site. Unfortunately, this plan did not work out as issues regarding the building site emerged and eventually ITRHD could no longer provide us with the original land. This was a huge surprise for us but we needed to somehow carry on the project. Luckily, three ladies from ITRHD arrived to Hariharpur and solved the issue by identifying an alternative site. The change of site had a great impact on the design we have been working on, however, it revealed positive aspects of the village as well. The teachers, for example, spoke out and said that they would not stop teaching even without a school building and they will continue teaching from home and also provide lunch for the pupils. It was heart moving to learn how deep their dedication for teaching was only after a month since they opened the nursery.
Meanwhile, we started to look for locally available materials. We asked Shamraj, the father of the caretaker at the school, whether he can help us finding materials such as bricks, bamboo, steal, etc. He guided us to several brick factories surrounding Hariharpur and at each place we checked the quality of different bricks (some mud bricks and mostly fired bricks) and consulted the owners for prices and proportion of the mix for making bricks. We were taken to a nearby cement/gravel/sand/iron supplier as well.
Another huge task for us was to prepare for the Visiting School where we will accommodate 15 people from around the world in Hariharpur. We decided to rent a vacant house of which the owner was living in Varanasi. As no one was using the house for a long time, the house looked like a ruin, however, we trusted the villager’s word that they can turn it into a ready-made house. After white wash was applied and furniture was placed, the house became a very cosy place with a gorgeous view from the roof terrace. We are very thankful to Kamlesh who helped us arrange everything from electricity to food and so much more.
While we were going back and forth from Chacha Nehru School to the Visiting School accommodation, we passed by a beautiful mud house and naturally started to examine its structure. The grandmother of the house warmly welcomed us inside. The house was nicely maintained and the temperature inside was cooling and very nice. It was perfect for the storage room right next to the mail entrance to keep fresh vegetables. Interior walls of the building were used very effectively, having shelves for lightings and some mirrors of different shapes were nicely attached to the surface. We were all amazed by the beauty of the mud house.
Right before Saswati, Pamela and Archana from ITRHD headed back to Delhi, we had been introduced to the District Magistrate of Azamgarh. It was a very honourable thing to be introduced to the top person in such a huge district. We hope to invite Mr. Ravi Prakash Aroia to Hariharpur one day to show him the progress of our project and to introduce him to the wonderful people of Hariharpur.