Weeks 3&4

One month in India! I will dedicate this post to what I have done and see so far for my project, main reason why I am here..

My supervisor (professor and researcher in environmental engineering, with specialization on botanic) gave me a list of plants he recorded in the surrounding area (Walayar valley) and I started to search which plants are already broadly described (chemical composition, active component, pharmagnosist study) in order to select the plants that still need to be analysed.

After one week of preliminary research, I went to visit 2 tribal villages, also in the area of Walayar that my professor has not visited yet.

For security reasons and especially because of the language, a 27-years old guy graduated in botanics came with me. Our task during these visits is to ask to the people their knowledges about medicinal plants.

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Village 1: Nadupathy Area. To enter this village you need a permission as the area is protected from the state. After 2km walk in the forest you reach Nadupathy, a village of 200 people where everyone knows everyone. Green area, monkeys, silence and peace surrounds you.

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Geetha, a 70-years old lady we interviewed. Despite her age, she was energetic. She did not speak any English but look for a contact with me smiling, and was proud of having her picture taken. Mud ¨house on the right is Geetha’s residence.

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Once the interview was concluded, we walked into the village and the kids approached us.

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Village 2: Chinnampathy Area. Village is smaller than the first one, but more people were around. Entrance is quite clean and there is no particular bad small even if there is open defecation, dogs and sheeps are around. Only few water-pumps are available.

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After a first shy moment, the kids welcomed us. They could speak some English and were curious about our names, family members and names, our country..

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This wise man is 100 years old and talked with us for 3 hours straight! Kids helped us to find the plants and the “grandpa”,Chinna Rajan, described them to us. The hut were he welcomed us all is his residence.

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Chinna Rajan and his 93 years old wife. The life expectancy in these rural villages is around 90 to 100 years old! With their simple life, basic facilities, only local plants sanitation but a healthy lifestyle without any stress, they really impressed me.

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The kids made us visit the rest of the village and as we arrived to the baby’s classroom, the tiny kids came out to greet us. They smiled into our cameras and showed us their siblings and friends.

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When we started taking pictures, they called in all their friends for a group picture! They liked to see their face on the phone afterwards.

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I gave them my phone and they took lot of funny picture to each other.

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We ended up taking many pictures and selfies with the kids, they loved following us around and showing us interesting thing to see. When it was time to leave, the kids waved us goodbye.

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We drove away from the chaotic road, we were still amazed by these cool kids, who welcomed us as sisters for the day.

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