Our day began bright and early on a cool Tuesday at 6:30am and asked our homestay families if we could help deliver their morning milk to the local Milk Dairy Cooperative. We walked as a group to the Milk Dairy with other locals going through their normal morning routine. and learned about the business—how it started, how much they sell in a day etc. Each house dropped off the morning milk collection that was poured it into a graduated cylinder to measured the density of the milk, and finally weighed to collect the volume; the more fat in the milk the more money would be paid and deposited into a personal account. We also learned about the history of the Milk Dairy Cooperative, how it operates, and the positive impact it has had on the community and women of Heranjalu specifically. In addition we heard from Shailaja, the woman who leads the operation, one of many local leaders we have had the chance to connect with.
We headed out of the village from late afternoon into late at night, and our first stop was a local cashew factory. We had a special tour to learn about what it is like to work in cashew factory and see all the steps that go into preparing the cashews. Each and every cashew that is processed at this factory goes through human hands at least one point during the process and there were many other amazing unknown aspects to the process that we learned! Did you know that cashews have to sit in heat for 24 hours before they are ready to be sold and can be poisonous if not processed correctly? This particular factory was owned and managed by another local leader, Mrs. Bhad.
Journaling in the town was a bit distracting, but it worked out for the best because we ended up having some fun conversations with local youth and also playing an impromptu game of volleyball.
Next up, the “Market Challenge” where we broke into small teams of three and were given 200 rupees to buy food/objects we hadn’t heard of before. Everyone had to practice Kannada, to ask how much something cost, and then we were off exploring. We walked into different stores, avoiding the traffic that we have become more accustom to. Pre-dinner ice cream, more colorful than ever imagined, was the perfect gathering spot to share the recent purchases, some of which were new sweet treats, different savory snacks, or fun new toys.
The night ended at the village school to dance on the stage and get a feel for our big show one day away. By this time, the sun had gone down and the stars had come out. Still a little hot and sweaty, we danced in the shadows of flashlights with dust highlighting every step we took. While groups were dancing, some of us decided to tell ghost stories in the middle of the dark.
During our appreciation part of ANCHOR, one student pointed out how pretty the stars looked so we decided to take a quick break to look up at the sky and take it all in. In the end, we read to strips from the comic Calvin and Hobbes that reminded us of who we are and what we should hold important.