blog#9, 4 December (team 3) – by Thomas van Veelen (University of Twente)
Yesterday we were invited by a local family of farmers for breakfast at their home today. They live in a village a few kilometres from the CEE field station in Halvad.
That meant getting waked at 7:30 and being ready for breakfast at 8:00. After a short and bumpy ride we arrived in the small village of Nava Ghansyam Gadh. Via some small allies we arrived at the most beautiful house of village. Our hosts appeared to be one of the important families of the village. They received us heartwarmingly and offered us tea, dokla (yellow rice cakes) and thepla (bread with herbs, looks like a pancake) together with a rich sauce. After the delicious breakfast, we got to the roof to enjoy the beautiful sights over the village and we helped to add some pictures to the family album. By the time we left, many people already gathered at the gates to take a look at the white aliens. We got waved goodbye by what felt like the whole village and started our journey to the Wild Ass Sanctuary.
The Wild Ass Sanctuary sounds very mysterious, exiting, and it definitely was. The Wild Ass Sanctuary is located in The little rann of Kuchchh. The Wild Ass refers to the donkeys that live in this salty desert. The ground is extremely dry, full of cracks and covered with a layer of salt. There is hardly anything that grows in this national park. This climate produced amazing Fata Morganas. We were constantly chasing a see, but never reached it. When we stopped and looked around, we saw nothing but dead desert land. We felt like stranded in a never ending no man’s land. Luckily we had a skilled driver to keep us on track. On the other hand we also saw people who made their income by salt farming in this isolated area. They pumped the groundwater from the ground to plots, where the water evaporated and the salt remained. Unfortunately this practice is another threat to the groundwater reservoirs below the surfaces. We keep this in mind during our case about Water Resource management. All in all the trip was very worthwhile.
When we got back to the CEE field station in Halvad, it was time to discuss and recap all experiences and knowledge of the past two days. We packed our bags, thanked all the people at CEE for their hospitality and left for a three-hour drive back to Ahmedabad. Back in Ahmedabad, we took the pleasure of an expensive (with respect to Indian standards) western restaurant, where it was all you can eat meat. Although feeling very guilty, it felt good to eat meat again. Feeling recharged for the Udaipur trip tomorrow…