The Border Tour – Day 2: Nilpur, Kachchh

Tuesday, February 28 2006

Nilpur

I was awakened at 4:30am by students of Gram Seva Sangh (another Gandhian organization that Babubhai supports) singing and drumming right in front of our window, gathered to do their daily four hours of saafai (cleaning). Maria and Jocelyn, my roommates for the night, slept right through the exuberance, and I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, but I found out later that Jayeshbhai had, of course, joined the kids in cleaning the campus.

The immaculate campus includes traditionally-built housing for the children and staff, a cow shed, organic garden, library, computer and vocational training centers, classrooms, and open-air pavilions for assembly. The organization harvests rainwater and captures solar energy for the numerous times a day (and night) the electric power is cut off. “Bapu”, the nonagenarian who started the organization, still lives on site, having followed Gandhiji’s call to return to the villages. His sons, Rameshbhai and Dineshbhai Sanghvi and their families manage various aspects of the trust and school. Dineshbhai lives on site, while Rameshbhai lives in Bhuj, closer to medical care after a massive heart attack several years ago.
Nilpur Welcome

488 students from 6 schools gathered to participate in our program. We were garlanded, serenaded, and gifted books on Gandhi by Babubhai before the children sat down to write letters and draw pictures. Jocelyn captured a photo of one boy who is almost blind, writing a letter.

Blind Boy Writing a LetterNilpur School Kids with Letters

After another delicious meal, nap, and tea, we made our way to Bhuj, where Kantikaka, the “Father of Kachchh”, waited to welcome us to Shrujan, an amazing NGO working on rural development and the preservation and revival of high quality Kachchhi embroidery.

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