Sustainable Development in Northern India
After living in Miami for 6 years I really thought things like sun and sweat wouldn’t bother me- and then I moved to Janauri, Punjab. Nothing has prepared me for working in this type of heat and the repercussions involved. Having to walk around and conduct projects in 40 C/108 F heat is almost unbearable, compared to my old life where I escaped into air conditioning whenever the thermostat read above 85 F. At first, we really needed to adjust, and I myself have had to overcome dehydration and needing to rest more than usual. Rehydration salts have become a regular refreshment for me, and when the power goes out and there’s no fan-sleeping outside is the only option. By now it has become a little easier, but any cold beverage or moment of reprieve from the heat is still always welcomed.
A very real lifestyle change I have discovered throughout this adventure is the genuine appreciation I now have for water. Water is the essential necessity of life, and it’s not until you don’t have it that you realize how wonderful it is. With the heat and the extra use of water, our intern house frequently experiences water shortages. When this happens, the interns in the house work together to prioritize our usage: 1. Drinking water 2. Water for washing and toilet 3. Showers 4. Washing clothes. Without water everything else becomes not only an inconvenience, but a major health and sanitation hazard. We’ve all become more conscious about our usage and frequently brainstorm methods to conserve water. For example, we turn the water on and off while washing dishes, and we each ration half a bucket of water for bathing.
For someone unaccustomed to this type of rural living it may seem extreme, maybe even torture, but for me it is refreshing. Although challenging at times, I still appreciate this opportunity to experience first-hand the extreme importance of conserving our natural resources and working with the environment. I feel inspired to learn more ways to live more sustainably, and adjust to living in different climates and terrains without relying on contraptions for my survival. While I continue to sweat it through, and stay hydrated, I’m thankful for every drop of water I have.
– Margaret Arzon, USA
– Women Empowerment Project Manager, Punjab