PART 2: Thirst for Conversation

The last time we spoke about the project, we told you the what of it but now, we will tell you the why of it. We wished for a long time for it to happen, and now, we have made it happen too. The Water Conservation Project has drop-by-drop, step-by-step, begun.

Our attempt is to equip the 125 villagers of Talla Pali to build and nurture the project on their own by taking ownership of the roles and responsibilities, and then adding value by executing it on an individual level. With various phases at both the ideation and action phase, the project made its way to reality.

With our local NGO partner as the facilitator and us, SoulTree, as the monitors, the villagers are at the center of who the responsibility lay with. The quest to save water began in November 2018 and made its way into 2019 with each impending task leading us to where we are today. But it all began with a conversation.

Let’s Talk About It

“It rained so heavily that an entire pit was filled with water instantly. In less than seconds, I found myself dipping my toes in the water, forgetting everything else on my mind. My goats followed, and one after the other, took turns to sip their share of water,” shared Devki Devi, a farmer who couldn’t help but think about the old days, when something like this would be an everyday affair.

Today, all the natural wells, more than 12 of them, have dried up, leaving only a memory of how it used to be. Not just Devki, but many villagers from Talla Pali, came together to meet, share and remember what was, and to together brainstorm of what can be.

The conversation about sustainability, both for people and the environment, began with a group of people gathering around a tree, post reading a strategically placed notice, to come up with some big ideas and small executions.

Getting to the Point

The meetings meant discussion of all kinds. Right from talking about what goes into the structures of the site and the soil of the land, to talking about how to talk about things and give each other feedback, the conversations were many, and so were the people. With about 17 women and 11 men expressing and discussing what-to’s and how-to’s, the community became stronger with each passing day.

The main issues discussed in these meetings included the need and opportunity for creation of sustainable livelihood base, empowering women self-help groups through involving group members in project activities for implementation of water conservation and improving production and efficiency in agriculture.

Work and Talk

The seed of the idea was then spread by these thought leaders into their respective communities. The discussions soon turned into training sessions to build and sustain skills within the village community, while keeping the purpose and that one big goal in mind.

“Not too long ago, we used to work together, talking through the day and having our meals, all while finishing the field work of the day. But now, we hardly get a chance to go to work together, let alone have a proper conversation. This project is taking us back to working as one, instead of being on our own. The step-by-step tasks are giving us a chance to do both, work patiently and talk deeply at the same time”, shared Pushpa Devi and Janki Devi, giving us a picture of hope and connections, while we explore how the work lays itself out, next.

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