Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tribal kids

Forests; Jungle; Evoke myriad of images. Animals, trees, rivers, streams, falls etc etc and to a lesser extent tribals. A fortnight back, we got a chance to visit the fringes of Nagarholle forest, and interact with school going tribal children. Herz an account.
The much needed push came from the note book drive Sunand had organised for some of the govt. school children in the Heggad-Devan kote area. Off, we left on a rain promising saturday morning with 2000 - 200 page - notebooks. Santosh came witha 4WD, Vishwas & Nandha joined us. Here, with a beautiful girl watching us, we decided to coverup with notebooks.

The books were more targetted at drop out children in various schools. But, we started with a distribution to all kids in a school. Tobaco is majorly cultivated in these parts. Herz how the plant looks.

A web can be seen as a you-will-get-lost puzzle or can be seen as a wonderful supporting structure. The tribals that lived in the Bandipur-Nagarhole-Wynad forests now live in the fringes and try to make a living.

The predominant tribes are

  • Kaadu Kuruba

  • Jenu Kuruba
  • Yarava

  • Soliga

Some of them have some land to cultivate, and also engage in basket making & honey gathering. Most of the seem lost between the jungles and the towns. A lot of them go to Coorg a few months a year to assist in their plantations. The Kabini back waters.

Helping the tribes make a healthy living is the NGO - Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement -

This group started of with health, and have now moved onto education among other things. They have a good hospital in Saragur, where a tribal can avail facilities for Rs 2.

And yes, they have a residential school for the tribal children. This houses 400 kids, studying from first std to 10th std, with 218 boys and 182 girls. The school is close to Kabini back-waters, a place called Hosahalli, on the other side of the back-water one can notice the Kabini Jungle lodges.

We spent a night and half a day at this school, interacting with the children. A lot of the current 10th kids said they have seen a tiger in the wild! And, here, I was going through a bird book with them, and they could identify a lot of them.

The school has wonderful facilities. They seem to follow a montessori like system.
One of their primary school class-room. They have a good library, wonderful lab, and a computer centre.

Leaves collected by 3rs std kids!!!
The class-tribe-sex break-up.

Well....a snake molt....and the spine of snake ;-)

At this point, my kyamera fell and got damaged ;-(

So...the rest of the day, we got to interact with the 10th standard students. It turned out to be intense sessions. They were around 40 of them. What was amiss was the exposure. Growing up so far from the cities/towns - depite all the facilities the school offers - they seem to miss the bus. A desire to go away from the place was there, but what next wasn't clear. A girl who scored above average marks aspired to be a bus conductor!!! We spent a lot of time talking 'bout career options etc etc. The kids lapped everything up.

What was striking was the closeness amongst the kids. The teachers remarked that they don't have a concept of mine/yours. There are no fights in the class when the teacher is not around. And, that the word 'orphan' doesn't exist in their language!!!

The kids look very promising, eager to make it. What they would do well, are more visits by the outside world (you & me), to inspire, show directions, and help them take those next few crucial steps.

Most of the 10th standard pass students are sponsored into higher education by the NGO. Currently, 10 such students are persuing their 11th standard science at Mysore. These children would benefit by regular mentoring by someone in Mysore. Mentoring would involve talking & motivating them, and an easy way is to teach some subjects or clear some of their subject doubts to build the relationship. Interested, let me know.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sinhagud day-2

Sinhagud a fort near Pune offers a wonderful climb for the physically inclined - tons of them -, romantic couples, picnic spot, and ofcourse hosts wonderful floura & fauna.

On 22nd July, Avi, Prasanna & me were led admirably by Sanjay Katti - an old leg with the mountains -Bulbull pair. Snails....need to get more info.

Ants busy transporting a dead grass-hopper. It was interesting watching the fast progress the crack-team made. Quickly moving around, changing positions, strategies, they kept going.

Wire-tailed swallows. All of us were spell bound by this couple, who let us have a good look of them.

Need to get back the wild-flower book from Shrikanth.
Hill MynaThe fort was getting closer, and the climb steeper. The day was promising to be mist filled/cloudy.
Watch-tower or whatever.
Sanjay pointed a mongoose, it looked left & right, and quickly went back to the shrubby vegetation it came from. A dog sensing it quickly went behind with no success. The dog realised perhaps Sanjay would lead him to some more, and joined us for a while!

Snake with its head crushed. You know, I have been trekking for a while now, and have hardly come across snakes in the wild. They move away sensing our presence. And, it was a shame to see a snake in this manner.

A nice outing, many thanks to Sanjay Katti.