Picking up from where I left off in the last India post, we started our trip with a short night in Dheli, before taking the train up to Rishikesh, where we stayed another night, and then reaching the small village of Naugaon, our final pit stop for the week. From there we took day trips to the mountains to visit different farmer communities. Our job was to document the trips in words (Maarten) and images (me) and basically following the manager of Farmers as Owners, the joint venture, to see how everything was going in these far out regions. It is a fairly complex business model to explain, so I won't bore you with the details.
Most of our days were spent in the Jeep driving to and from these, often very secluded, places. We were very warmly welcomed by all the farmers, some more than others, but all so very hospitable, serving us fantastic North Indian fair for lunch and all the chai we could drink. This must have been the farthest away from any touristic route I've ever been on my travels and without our Indian friends from the Joint venture, we would have had no chance of navigating or communicating in these strange lands. And even though I never experienced any blatant kind of gender specific prejudice, I was still so happy to have Maarten there with me, who aside from having the obvious advantage of being male, has the wonderful ability to make people feel comfortable and at ease in any situation, so the atmosphere was usually relaxed and very friendly.
Since one of the villages was so far out that we couldn't drive back to our house that day, we had to spend the night in a government hotel, an oddity I hadn't heard of before, and a whole adventure in itself. I lovingly named it the House of Horros, but I'll tell you all about it in the next post. (Oh the suspense! Can you even stand it ;)