As much as I’d love to, I can’t meet each and every person to hear their story, but during the annual monitoring trips I make sure to meet as many people as possible to hear about the barriers they have faced and the change they have experienced through being part of a cbm project.
Just recently I was in India visiting our organic farming project in Uttar Pradesh. This is the second largest state in India and home to the highest number of people living in poverty. Our innovative project uses agriculture as a tool to lift people out of poverty. During this trip I had the privilege of spending time with Mohan.
I met Mohan, his wife and his delightful five girls and was fascinated to hear about the way they cook and live. Like most of the families in our project, there is no electricity in their village. Instead they make the most of daylight hours with an early 5am start or occasional use of a generator. They showed me their home - a simple one bedroom dwelling made of bricks with a few gaps for windows - cool in summer, but very cold in winter.
Practicing their English, we exchanged recipe ideas as they showed me how they cook on their outdoor oven – a chulaha sitting on the ground using a handmade clay oven fuelled with bricks made from cow dung.
The Summer heat is not easy for Mohan– after contracting polio as a child his leg became paralysed so he learnt to move around using a long stick as a crutch. It is hot work, and although he is thankful he has a plot of land, he is even more grateful for the small shop he made outside his house which means he can earn an income without having to travel long distances to the market.
Mohan is extremely thankful that the techniques he has been taught by cbm’s partner using organic compost keeps his crops stay moist in the Summer heat.