We had spent the morning and into the afternoon visiting Ram, in his home. It wasn’t necessarily an easy day or ultimately, an easy experience, but it was one that helped clarify the path I am on and a broader perspective of the phases that our project will move through.

We had spent the morning and into the afternoon visiting Ram, in his home. It wasn’t necessarily an easy day or ultimately, an easy experience, but it was one that helped clarify the path I am on and a broader perspective of the phases that our project will move through.

Ram lived in a home that was literally pieced together. Sticks, cardboard, an old door on its side, dug into the ground, all helped to form his walls. You could not stand up inside, his roof was at my chest, and they pushed the stand that was their bed frame outside during the day to use the simple space they had for cooking and shade during the day.

We had met him while out walking the streets of Pushkar, a holy city in the state of Rajasthan, while we were stopped for some chai the day prior he had sauntered up to us, instrument in hand, playing and asked to chat and sit with us.  He went on to tell us of his craft, the one handed down for generations, making these instruments and playing them. And he did them both, well. He occasionally makes a sale, gives lessons or gets change for playing. Of course there was also the tale of struggles, of making it work, providing for his family. We accepted his offer to see his home.

So the next morning we went, as his wife made tea and food and fed the baby. I was able to play with their smiley child and occasionally take the babe as she went about her work. And Ram went about his. He built an instrument as we watched and talked to us about his family history, the village that he lived in, how people earned money. We chatted about opportunities or lack thereof, and we heard a lot about the struggles he was facing. That they were facing.

His work was not sustainable, it is not really a struggle to “make ends meet”, he just cannot. So he told of us of how he relies on travelers, every year or so to make the large purchases so his family stays warm and dry. Staples like plastic for the roof, blankets for the winter nights and decent clothing. He proudly showed a pair of work boots someone had gifted him.

At the end of it all, we did buy the instrument. It’s silly and cumbersome, but I still cannot bring myself to leave it behind. It’s represents something much bigger. It represents a good heart that existed in the human I was with and Ram himself. And it represents the layers of this big global community we are in, and the different way people need assistance. And as we left I felt even more solid in the type of community I wanted The Blue Atlas Project to be a vessel for.

I believe we can do better. Relief is necessary at times and people experience bad circumstances, natural and man-made, and need a helping hand. We are all in this together. But with our project, our work and your support, we aim to provide more sustainable and healthy options, to facilitate economic independence and through that allow families and communities to self-develop.

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