A walking tour
The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India and Bangladesh, about her recent visit to ASSIST.
Thanks to ASSIST, I got to travel across a part of my native Andhra Pradesh that I never knew existed which is the island of Nagayalanka. I didn’t know that a place as remote as the Sundarban existed so close to home. Thanks to the great reputation of ASSIST’s work there, we got a free ride over on the ferry and I even got a mango from one of the villagers when they heard I had come over from GlobalGiving! Such is the sweet nature of many of the village folk in the surrounding areas.
The island has several villages, but I visited one village where ASSIST has constructed several homes. I got to see several homes in the before and after state. The before state is primarily built using mud and straw. While these homes are cool for heat, they are easily destroyed in storms and flood as they are at a low level. The newly built homes are elevated, and support two related families such as two brothers and their families. The interesting unexpected use is that families are also using parts of their home for storage of fish and prawns that they catch, which is a great use! These homes were built with funding from ASSIST, the government of India and partially the homeowner themselves. So rather than charity, it is a model of empowerment where residents feel that they are owners rather than recipients of charity.
While I was getting the tour from happy families with new homes, we also had onlookers in half finished homes, which were started thanks to a government scheme, but were never finished due to storms and lack of funding. ASSIST hopes to raise funds quickly so that they can salvage the structures of these homes and save on material costs. The impact will be huge for a marginal cost.
Finally, the ladies from the village fed me the best fish curry I have ever had in my life. If you are ever in Andhra, I highly recommend a visit to experience the hospitality and the simplicity of this hardworking community.
Inside a home
Watching from an unfinished home
An lesson on fishing nets in another home
Fish and Shrimp!