Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ikogosi warm spring: Nature’s gift to mankind


It may have some historic sights, but India is also a country of contrasts as there are sights that many find offensive, says Jimoh Babatunde.
India’s new groove starts from the Indra Ghandi International Airport which is currently undergoing expansion. Right from when you step off your plane, you will be amazed with the beauty of the latest airport terminal three.
After the completion of Terminal 3 in 2010, two more terminals and runways are planned as airport authorities are expecting a capacity of 100 million passengers a year by 2026.
From the airport, that evening of my arrival aboard Emirates, to the central park area where accommodation reservation has been made for me at the Radisson Hotel Connaught, the transformation taking place in New Delhi was visible.
Construction of roads and over head bridges were going on simultaneously. Getting to the Central Park at Rajiv Chowk in Connaught Place, I was stunned by the beautiful developed park which has innumerable trees and shrubs.
The central park has twinkling lamp posts and four water bodies including a cascade, The pathways for the people to take a walk was another attraction of the place where the Radisson Hotel Connaught is located.
Settling into the well-furnished hotel afforded me the opportunity to relax after the long trip from Lagos, still wondering on what the conference on “Leveraging Agriculture for improving Nutrition and Health” organised by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) will offer, a call came from the reception for a dinner.
At the dinner I got to meet other journalists from other parts of the world invited for the event. After the introduction by Rubinstein Michael of IFPRI we got down to eating. It was difficult for most of us from Africa eating the various meal served at the dinner.
Muhangi Jossy from Uganda made the dinner lively with his rib cracking jokes which kept most of the journalists from Europe and Asia wondering why the African journalists were laughing heartily.
It did not take long before most of them joined in the laughter on our way to Bhindusi is a village located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan state. The four and the half journey from New Delhi started early in the morning after breakfast to afford the traffic jam new Delhi is noted for.
The journey from New Delhi to Rajasthan state proves interesting as the adage that all that glitters is not gold was brought home to me. Traveling through Guragon, Dharuehra and Bhiwadi that morning, the level of poverty and deprivation was appalling.
Young and able-bodied men were seen having their baths in open places along the road. Street trading in dirty environment was a common sight on the road. It reminds one of traveling to the Eastern part of Nigeria and having to pass through Onitsha.
Arriving Bhindushi Village at about 10:00 a.m., the team was received by Spectra officials at one of the India’s Integrated Child Development Services Program centres.
On hand with the Spectra officials was the district head, Shafia Khan. At the centre were more than forty children and women who are participating in the program meant to address the major causes of Child under_nutrition in India.
Under_nutrition is concentrated in number of districts and villages. We were shown how children and mothers get together every day to learn about the need for nutritious food during pregnancy and during early childhood. The most appropriate foods for good health; proper hygiene and cleaning.
Yadav Shaahab, 45years old with two children while lauding the program said there are still rooms for improvement, She said the food provided by the Government must conform to what they take in the various regions. The government, she said, must look into the funding of the project.
SARISKA PALACE HOTEL
We retired to the Prime Heritage Hotel, the Sariska Palace built by Maharaja of Alwar on the edge of Sariska National Park as a royal hunting lodge.
The interior of Sariska Palace is a blend of French and regal architecture. Under the biting cold dinner was served.
I ate the best meal here since arriving India. Just as we had time to dance to the cultural dances provided by the hotel with burn fire set up to help in ameliorating the effect of the cold.
http://dvsl3w2q45hb8.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/tour22-300x200.jpg
The environment of the people of Bhuriyabas village in Rajasthan, India.
If not for Angel Navuri, probably, I would have been left behind the following morning as I over slept. She was gracious enough to check on me on her way for the break fast. Joining them for the break fast when they were about departing, I was still able to take one or two bites.
We finally set out for Bhuriyabas village to see what an NGO, Ibtada, was doing to promote agriculture and livestock-based livelihoods. The NGO focuses on animal husbandry as a major livelihood intervention and has trained dozens of women who are able to enhance their income from animals and land resources.
Moving into the village, The stalk reality of the situation of the people dawn on most of us as we saw children of school age who were previously engaged in child labour and the condition under which the people were living. Social amenities were missing, just as infrastructures were lacking.
Able bodied young men were seen lazing away and some were seen doing menial jobs.
In the villages around the area, because of poverty, most parents do not allow their children to go to school instead takes them along for menial jobs like farming, brick laying and other odd jobs.
But with the intervention of the NGO, the government set up schools for children labourers and potential child labourer. At the schools where they spend three hours daily, they are given food and so get prepared for real school life.
The women are also trained in livestock rearing. They take lessons in goats or any small ruminant rearing as a tool to enhance their family incomes.
The hospitality of the people was shown as the women of the town gathered to welcome our team. After elaborating the benefits they have made from the program, every member of our team was given a token gift.
A sour point was when one of the women was dragged on the ground by one of the bulls reared in the community. It is not un common to see bulls tied with large chains in the community, but this one got loose and in the process injured the said woman.
The fear of another attack from bulls brought the trip to an abrupt end and the journey to New Delhi begun.
Monkeys mix freely in the community as they were seen in most residential houses and even in our hotel.
The traffic we tried avoiding on our way to Rajasthan, we finally ran into same traffic on our way back to New Delhi. The long queue of articulated vehicles on the road reminds one of the Oshodi Apapa express way where articulated vehicles take over the road.
The trip to Rajasthan state showed that India is a country of contrast as there are the good and the ugly, the high and the low, as well as beautiful and the ugly since arriving India. Just as we had time to dance to the cultural dances provided by the hotel with burn fire set up to help in ameliorating the effect of the cold.
If not for Angel Navuri, probably, I would have been left behind the following morning as I over slept. She was gracious enough to check on me on her way for the break fast. Joining them for the break fast when they were about departing, I was still able to take one or two bites.
We finally set out for Bhuriyabas village to see what an NGO, Ibtada, was doing to promote agriculture and livestock-based livelihoods. The NGO focuses on animal husbandry as a major livelihood intervention and has trained dozens of women who are able to enhance their income from animals and land resources.
Moving into the village, The stalk reality of the situation of the people dawn on most of us as we saw children of school age who were previously engaged in child labour and the condition under which the people were living. Social amenities were missing, just as infrastructures were lacking.
Able bodied young men were seen lazing away and some were seen doing menial jobs.
In the villages around the area, because of poverty, most parents do not allow their children to go to school instead takes them along for menial jobs like farming, brick laying and other odd jobs.
But with the intervention of the NGO, the government set up schools for children labourers and potential child labourer. At the schools where they spend three hours daily, they are given food and so get prepared for real school life.
The women are also trained in livestock rearing. They take lessons in goats or any small ruminant rearing as a tool to enhance their family incomes.
The hospitality of the people was shown as the women of the town gathered to welcome our team. After elaborating the benefits they have made from the program, every member of our team was given a token gift.
A sour point was when one of the women was dragged on the ground by one of the bulls reared in the community. It is not un common to see bulls tied with large chains in the community, but this one got loose and in the process injured the said woman.
The fear of another attack from bulls brought the trip to an abrupt end and the journey to New Delhi begun.
Monkeys mix freely in the community as they were seen in most residential houses and even in our hotel.
The traffic we tried avoiding on our way to Rajasthan, we finally ran into same traffic on our way back to New Delhi. The long queue of articulated vehicles on the road reminds one of the Oshodi Apapa express way where articulated vehicles take over the road.
The trip to Rajasthan state showed that India is a country of contrast as there are the good and the ugly, the high and the low, as well as beautiful and the ugly
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/02/india-truly-incredible/#sthash.kbe3zvrK.dpuf