Corey and Gina's Big Adventure

Corey writes:

Having a guest in our house for a couple weeks has introduced some adventure into our lives. (That's right, our lives here are booooring!) On Monday afternoon, Annie told us she was planning on going to visit several places on Tuesday, some for work and some for pleasure:

  1. Jeypore
  2. Kotpad
  3. the nefarious-sounding, Camp 6
  4. and Nabarangpur (say it with me, kids)

I'll be talking about numbers 1 and 3 today, Gina will be following up with everything I've forgotten on Friday.

So, we jumped in the Jeep for our jaunt to Jeypore first. "We're going to buy some goats" we were told, in the same way you might say, "I'll grab some milk on the way home." How does one buy a goat? Is there just a goat aisle in some Indian Wal-mart? Are brand-name goats worth it or should we go private label? Low-fat, sugar free? Any goat coupons?

The goat shop turned out to be a group of trees next to a highway about 10 km outside of Jeypore. We showed up around noon, just as most of the goats (and cattle and oxen, etc.) were arriving.

This is an old place. This is the kind of place where you just know humans have been gathering here every week for a long, long time. There are some modern touches: concrete blocks, etc. Just like anywhere that lots of people are gathered, there are all sorts of tent-shops selling the market standards.

I've got 50 Rupees on the one on the left.


But we weren't there just to sight-see. We were there to buy! Debbie, one of our VSO predecessors, is now back in the U.S. but working to raise money for buying goats for villages here in Koraput. Gina and I watched from a distance as four men from the recipient village, together with one of the SOVA staff, tried to find some tasty-looking goats. Though Debbie's been very successful in her fundraising, and we had enough to buy several goats, Koraput is suffering from a supply problem. Nobody wants to sell their female goats! We only managed to find four healthy female goats. Here are the lucky ladies, along with my lucky lady:

(Check out the stares Gina's getting from pretty much everyone in the background. This is typical.)

Later in the day, we stopped at Camp 6, and there was a surprising lack of aliens or swamp monsters. The story is that when the state govt installed the Upper Kolab damn, it displaced thousands of tribal people living upstream. These people are the main beneficiaries of SOVA's work. Before the damn went in, the govt offered a settlement to the potentially displaced people: 1 acre of land for a homestead, 3 acres for farming, schools, jobs, healthcare, etc. if they relocated to reserved "camps". Anyone who is familiar with our own tribal people in the U.S. might recognize this narrative. In the end, the govt has only really delivered on the first two promises. People living in these camps have enough land, but they are very isolated, and lack access to quality education and healthcare. If only they had sovereignty, maybe they could build casinos.

Annie has a personal stake in Camp 6 because she has purchased a number of goats over the years for the camp, and these have multiplied into a thriving source of food and income for the camp. Here are the obligatory cute kid/kid pictures: