In Purulia this past month we suffered many short but powerful storms of wind, rain and hail, thunder and lightning. One of them was so severe that it killed three people in the village next door. In Dabar, gusts of wind from the same storm actually blew over one of the walls enclosing our Community Centre. It damaged the front of our own home too. Happily, the buildings inside the Centre itself were not damaged.
However, we need to repair the damaged wall very soon, before the heavy monsoon rains start in July. Otherwise we will risk more serious damage to the soil base, the front gate and even to the main Hall itself. We’ll add more substantial foundations, supported by metal beams, and a drainage system to keep rain water from undercutting the base of the wall again in future. We took estimates and need to find INR103,000 to pay for the work. This is converts to US$1,610 or AUS$2,150 or UK Sterling £1,250. Please click below for more information and photographs… Read more →
In this posting to the blog we will show you how this year’s monsoon (Borsa) has transformed our landscape. We look to be having a successful rice harvest this year so Ma Manasa Puja will be especially happy this year. We are also running a campaign to attract more sponsors to support the new boys in the hostel.
But first of all, I can tell you that we now have a brand new car to use for our work. Read more →
In this Posting we can tell you that the first rains of the monsoon season have arrived, so the annual rice plantings have begun, that schools all over Purulia District are opening again now that the heat wave is finally over, that we will now be starting a cultural programme of regular concerts at the Community Centre and that we are running an advanced sewing course for some local girls. We’ll also tell you about the ToTo’s, the new electric cars that are now to be seen all over Purulia.
But first, here is a short video that Shanta produced. It tells about some of the things we have been doing at Prabhatalloi over the years.
In the month of December we haven’t traditionally held any major festivals so many people here in India have adopted Christmas as an additional opportunity for celebrations. After all, the period of British rule is part of our heritage. The British established the leprosy hospital here in Purulia and Christian missionaries founded English-medium schools which will still run today, now taught by Indian teachers.
At the end of November, the temperatures usually start to become very cold. Everybody has to start dressing more warmly. This year, in fact, winter came late for us so we hadn’t felt the change of seasons until now. However now, as always, many people have started suffering from fever, coughs and colds because of the change of weather.
So in this blog we’ll tell you about our distributing warm clothes to the children in our hostels. We’ll also tell you about the new planting in our school campus garden, about Elena from Spain and her campaign for a plastic-free village and about Jyoshna Latrobe organizing a Kirtan Music Festival and Competition that we plan to run here next April.
We have important news to tell you about our water projects. Our farmers are now using the water from the refurbished riverside pump system to plant additional crops. We have also just started construction work to create an irrigation hub and public water station on the Foundation’s land just across the road from the school campus. On the same land we’ll build a Community Hall to accommodate local events and ceremonies.
Hello. Today I’ve got some news to tell you about the PA family and about some further developments at the School Campus, about how we have finished with furnishing the new dining hall and that two of our women are helping to look after the boys. I’ll also tell you about the important and good news that we’ve finished upgrading our irrigation system with a new electric pump and how we will now extend the pipelines further to service the paddies near the School Campus. This should make a big difference to the farmers in years to come. But first I’ll tell you that we celebrated two more annual festivals over this past month. One is Kali Puja, spiritually our most important festival, not just for people here in Dabar but also for many tribal peoples elsewhere. The other is Bandna Parab, celebrated in many villages like ours, which is a special occasion when we honour and express our appreciation and thanks to our working animals. Read more →
October is always a busy month for us, dominated by the festival of Durga, the biggest Puja of them all. Perhaps in western countries it is most closely comparable to Christmas, and all of India celebrates the occasion. Durga Puja starts at the first full moon of the autumnal equinox and lasts for four days, this year starting on 19th October.
There has been a long gap since our previous Post but, at long last, here is one for August. A lot has been happening. August is always an important time for everyone here because it is when we concentrate on agricultural work. The monsoon blessed us with good rainfall this year so the farmers in our village are hoping for a good harvest. The rains just about filled the ponds, which are so important to us, both for daily life (for washing, bathing and cleaning) and also for Pujas, spiritual occasions and family events. In August each year we honour Ma Manasa Puja and celebrate Independence Day. In Dabar this year we also built a new dining hall, repaired the storm damage at the school and are doing what we can about the health problems that followed on from the previous months of drought.
After months of drought and weeks of severe heat, with temperatures regularly over 50 degrees Centigrade, we finally got some good rainfall. The earth, the plants and animals were all thirsting for a drop of water. Unfortunately, when the cool, moist air finally arrived it reacted with the hot earth and so the first rains came in the form of violent storms driven by strong winds. In just a few minutes we lost the roofs of two buildings at the school. Since then everything in nature has cooled down because the rain has been falling steadily, just enough each day so that the earth can absorb it without flooding. Now the land everywhere looks green and the farmers are starting their agricultural work again. Read more →
1] Two women journalism students came from Kolkata with their parents to make a documentary film on Chhou dance. They stayed for two days with us in our guest house. They interviewed Robert, who did his research on Chhou dance when he was at SOAS, and Kiritida, who is an expert on Bengali culture. We also arranged an interview with the famous Chhou guru Dhananjan Mahato who lives not too far away. They also interviewed Doktor, who stays in our Hostel, who is five years old and is already a very fine Chhou dancer. Read more →