On Saturday Giles and Nicole set out to spend their first day meeting families and taking photos in India. They travelled from Doddagubbi to a small village that had been assembled right next to a huge granite quarry mine. Giles had visited Marenahalli Bunde with the 40K Group working with the women and children in the community so he wanted to go back and give them something in return.
The journey to Marenahalli Bunde took two buses (three including the one wrong one) and about a one-hour walk through some back roads once we got off the bus. The bus ride was interesting: women boarded the bus via the front door to sit at the front and the men through the back door to sit at the rear.
Feeling that we should respect the local culture we followed suit and did the same finding we sat in the center of the bus one seat apart, Giles behind and myself in front. It did feel strange and finally after a few stops when the bus began to fill up, the men encouraged us to sit together. Being a Western couple we figured we’d break this rule from now on, it just seemed too weird sitting apart when we were travelling together. Plus we decided that we wouldn’t offend anyone so long as we were respectful enough in terms of what we were wearing and not hugging or being too touchy in public.
On our way to Marenahalli Bunde we walked through many small villages. When we first turned off the main road there was a playground with a small group of children aged between about four to nine. Amongst the slippery dip and the old school merry go round there were buffalos and cows munching on the grass. This was such a sight and contrast so we decided to stop for a photograph.
As soon as the children spotted us, they jumped off the playground and ran towards us. The children here are very curious, never shy and very talkative. Many of them speak a few words of English as they learn it in school. “Namaskara” means hello in Kannada, which is the local language for Karnataka. When you greet the children they immediately jump with joy and return the greetings and jump for high fives. They ask our names and how old we are. The girls in their brightly coloured sari’s and dresses with silver and gold anklets and bracelets are just the cutest things, little bubbles of colour and life. We take a few pictures, say our goodbyes and head down the roads towards the quarry village.