Government Officials Come to Nabakustashram – March 9th
On March 9th there was a tense initial standoff between residents and government officials.
That morning one of the residents came to our village near Nabakustashram. They had heard that the government officials from Budhu’s first standoff were coming back, and they were nervous about being bullied into the demolition of the men’s quarters. We arrived soon after, bringing a few friends as reinforcements for good measure.
Soon enough they pulled into Nabakustashram. I won’t bore you with the play-by-play, but you can see in the image above how tense it was. Suffice it to say that once we stepped in it became a very big argument!
Eventually we established the amount of money they had for their project, which wasn’t enormous. If they were to jump right into rebuilding the structure that’s not currently used (something they agreed to after much persuasion), then if their funding ran out mid-project it would have all been for naught. They settled with doing some repair work at the women’s section. If they still have funds left over, then they can begin work on the building that’s not currently used.
We’re in the news! – March 14th
After supporting Budhu in front of the Government officials, we took the liberty of contacting some reporter friends. The idea is that with media coverage, the government will be held accountable for the work they’ve promised.
A few short days later on March 14th we were featured on the second page of the daily paper in Purulia! Other people around town have commented to us that they’ve seen it, so that’s already good publicity. We have also since received a phone call from the Times of India who also expressed interest in covering the story, which would be tremendous – the Times of India is the equivalent of the New York Times in America.
Government Begins to Follow Through – March 15th
A couple short days after the article in the paper, government-contracted repair-work began at the women’s quarters! We hope they replace the entire roof, as it’s made of asbestos. India is one of the only countries worldwide which still permits its use, and many people don’t know about the health risks involved. If they can strengthen it sufficiently that will be a good start. There is also a troupe of monkeys which sticks around because they like the trees, and they could easily break the current roof as they jump around. They’re quite large!
That’s all for now. Coming up next: a much needed update on our progress.