Sunday, July 27, 2014

Few local tips to avoid heat wave exposure and Water problem!

Travel to the field and tips to avoid heat wave exposure:

My rural experience in India was concentrated in different villages of Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. Yavatmal is located at a distance of 700 kms from Mumbai.  This area is famous for 3 different reasons a). cotton cultivation, b). extreme dry heat region of India (Maximum temperature goes up to 120 0F)  and c). severe water problem.

I spent six weeks in this region when temperature was ranging between 1100F and 1200F.  It was a challenge as well as good learning experience to deal extreme dry heat. Some of the tips to survive in high temperature zone are a). drink water at regular interval (prefer bottled/mineral water), b). avoid sun light during peak hrs. If it is essential to come out in extreme sunlight, use cotton towel on head to avoid heat wave exposure. c). keep essential medicines such as electrolytes, paracetamol (fever) and  medicine for headache, and d). use light during night to roam in village areas (I saved myself from deadly scorpion couple of times. Fig-2 shows my second encounter with deadly scorpion of the region).
Fig-1: My home for six weeks in the field
Fig-2: My second encounter with a deadly scorpion
Fig-3: My breakfast and tea in the field
During my field visit, I met wonderful people of NGO partner. They  were very helpful and provided good support while staying in the field. I wouldn't have been able to work in such extreme conditions without NGO and organization's support. 
Fig-4: My team during field visit (2nd from left is head of NGO) 

Water problem in the region:

My work was concentrated around Palaskund village of district Yavatmal. This village has ~100 families. Sources of income for this village are daily wage, farming or both. It has four water sources.  Ironically, not a single water source is available throughout the year. The nearest water source is at a distance of ~200 m and farthest water source is at a distance of ~3 Km.   Fig-5 shows most common water source. Fig 6 shows dried well. People are collecting water.  Fig 7 shows path to common water source during summer season.  

Fig-5: Common water source of palaskund village
This village has highest number of waterwheel user. A clear navigable path through stony cotton field in fig-7 is an impact of waterwheel.  
Fig-6a: Dried well of village palaskund
Palaskund was my first village in Yavatmal. I visited three times to this village. When I reached to this village for first time, It was noon. Temperature was ~114 oF. I walked straight to well which was current water source. I can roughly say that the distance will be around ~1.5km from village. I started feeling headache as I walked down to well in such extreme temperature. It gave me a thought that how are villagers managing water collection from this water source. Further, I was shocked when I reached at water source. There were hardly 10-20 li water left in the well. However, more then 5 families were trying to take some portion of water. It is clearly depicted in figure-6. Water in the well comes from another village which is around 5 km from Palaskund. As a result only limited water is provided to palaskund during summer. People wait since mid night to collect water once water is accumulated in the morning.  
Fig-6b: Villagers collecting water  
Further discussion with villagers revealed that there is another water source which is ~3 km from village. However, only few people collect water from distant water source as it takes more than 1.5 hrs for one trip. In such location, waterwheel works as a life saving product. It doesn’t only reduce drudgery but also saves time and increases opportunity to earn. This kind of water problem is present in almost all villages where I visited in six weeks period.

Next time, I’ll discuss about my experience in actual field demo and people’s enthusiasm for waterwheel. 

Fig-7a: Path near well

Fig-7b: a clear navigable path on the way to well.

Fig-7c: A clear navigable path to Well. 

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