Aakashi Kotoky, Gold Award holder from Maria’s Public School, Guwahati is sharing her Residential Project experience.
For my Residential Project I went to Sakunabari, a village that is located near Sonapur on the way to Nagaon, Assam, for 5 days and 6 nights. During this period I stayed in a small household consisting of four family members who welcomed me with open arms.
During the period of my stay, I visited different households and asked various questions relating to the daily lives of the family members. The daily life in a village is very tough; it starts very early in the morning as the full advantage has to be taken of daylight before darkness descends. While I was there, the heads of the families were preoccupied with different agricultural activities for the next agricultural year and hence they could not give me the time to the extent I desired. Nevertheless, I managed to collect valuable information on the pros and cons of life in a village.
Their current problems include lack of medical facilities, a school quite far away, irregular supply of electricity, and the absence of clean drinking water, besides the lack of suitable transport facilities. While living with the family I learnt many new things and tried to adapt myself to the village life. It was my first time to visit an unknown place and live with unknown people for a few days. The experience that I got can never be completed while living in the cities. At first, I thought that it would be quite difficult to live among strangers, but it proved to be wrong. The experience that I gathered and the knowledge that I could receive from the members of the family will help me go a long way throughout my life.
While interacting with the village folk I was pleasantly surprised to observe that even in the absence of basic amenities the residents appeared to be quite happy compared to their urban counterparts. To my mind, this may be attributed to the absence of any form of pollution, a constant touch with nature, a uniform standard of living and a spontaneous desire to be involved in community welfare.
During my visit to this village, the female members of the house gave me valuable tips on the art of making pithas, laroos and other traditional Assamese delicacies. Being farmers predominantly, they had access to vast areas of land on which they raised various crops as well as domestic animals such as cows, goats, pigs and birds. The most interesting aspect of my visit was the greenhouse, where various ornamental plants and flowers were grown, most of which was sold in the nearby market at nominal prices. I gave them some advice on marketing methods such as growing hybrid plants, the use of manure for healthier growth and the arrangement of flowers to make attractive bouquets with a view to obtaining a higher price for their labour. I must confess that my brief visit was an eye opener to the horizons of rural life and my interactions with these simple people and my experiences will remain etched forever in my memory.
I sincerely thank IAYP for giving me this opportunity to explore myself better, as through this Residential Project I have learned to adapt to unknown conditions and find out new ways of survival while being away from the comforts of my regular life .This programme also opened new horizons for me to polish my skills with confidence.