Gearing up for the our clinic this weekend in India. Lots of logistics. We’re
working in a cluster of five tiny villages close together, two of them named Kanai. Total population of 4,000.
We will be using the school building to provide vision, medical, and dental services on Saturday and Sunday.
This is an extremely rural area. We need to bring everything with us. The closest ATM is 18km away as is the nearest grocery. A man rides by every morning on his motorcycle selling fresh vegetables, a sort of mobile farmer’s market. He weighs produce on a balance scale. One of his weights is missing, replaced by rock. The produce man, however, does not sell hand-sanitizer, Betadine, scissors, or any of the many things we’ll need.
Electricity is a novelty to be gawked at from a distance. No running water of course, and what water there is has dangerously high levels of fluoride, causing serious health problems to bones and teeth. (We’re bringing lots of toothpaste and toothbrushes.) The government has locked some of the hand pumps and painted them red. A water tower is under construction to pipe in water from Bilaspur Reservoir, the primary water supply to Jaipur, a city of 5 million people. Although the monsoons have just finished, Bilaspur is only 26% full.
Running water is a novelty beyond imagining. “Is it really true that everyone in America has a pipe with water coming into their house?” one of the better educated men asked me.
“Yes, that’s true.”
“How many hours a day is the water available?”
“And you can DRINK that water?”
Literacy rate among women in the village is 20 percent.
How to get the word out?
Word of mouth is always the best advertising and that is true here in an absolutely literal way. Local helpers have created a poster.
Even more directly, on Thursday and Friday we are hiring tuk-tuks to drive through the villages with a megaphone and announcements.
Now that’s what I call social media.