Donna and Joe have finished their assignment in India. Occasionally they still travel somewhere.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I stopped on my way to work and snapped this picture. If I had had more time I could have eventually gotten the picture I was trying to take of the human chain passing pans of concrete up to the second floor of the building. (Actually in India the ground floor is zero and the first floor is the one above that so this is the first floor.) The guy in orange appeared to be the foreman and he definitely thought he should be in the picture. So did the young boy holding a carrying pan.

Behind them you can see the man in the white sleeveless shirt shoveling cement into a pan. He is using the standard India shovel which has a handle about two feet long set at an angle of about 150 degrees to the blade. Meaning the handle is folded back over the top of the blade. It positions the handle well for lifting and carry with the shovel but means you must bend way over to dig in the ground.
When he has a pan full the man with the red head scarf will lift it, pass it to the man in the black shirt, who passes it to the man in the white cap, who passes it to the man in the striped shirt. They execute this so quickly and smoothly that the pan flies up to the next floor in one smooth movement taking less than a second.

The next two pictures where taken at a different place and time. These people are casting concrete slabs which will become a sidewalk. Sidewalks are not cast in place because the storm sewer runs under the sidewalk. The slabs have two holes in them to use when lifting them on and off of the sewer.

These three kids were in charge of loading the cement mixer with sand, gravel, cement and water. Each of these they carried on their heads from the staging area to the machine. Young kids can be seen at working at construction sites all over Bangalore.

From Donna:

People who make cement sidewalk panels should have plenty of work available.
Between the roads being widened and the fact that sewers on the sides of the road under the sidewalk are usually just unstructured ditches, they are constantly in the need of repair. Walking is treacherous and one always has to look where you're stepping.

Since my feet have a tendency to roll to one side, I was tripping a lot. After learning that Luna could get sick if she even picked up a bit of poisoned or rabid animal dropped by a crow, I was watching her like a hawk, and had an even harder time watching where I was going.

I took to walking everywhere with a long walking stick, so that I didn't end up falling in front of traffic. Soon some of the kids at the apartment complex proudly presented me with an even better stick. And some apartment complex guards that I visited with on my walks with Luna found the "mother" of all walking sticks, a big piece of bamboo pole that was painted on one end.

It became my trademark, and was known around the complex as my "Moses stick". I met people who thought I used it to control my dog, since big dogs here are usually aggressive, untrained guard dogs. Some people thought I used it for self-defense, in some sort of martial arts.

One day I stopped at a small grocery, and someone asked me about my stick. I explained why I used it, and they told me that they were part of an organization that helped provide mobility aids to those who were disabled. I commended them on their work, and was happy to hear such an organization existed. After some more conversation I realized that they wanted to know if I wanted a cane! Besides being quite happy with my walking stick, I figured that the persona of someone who could defend themselves, or who had a dangerous dog was probably much safer from attack than someone who looked frail enough to need a cane. (Especially since I have been known to walk my dog on the street outside the apartment complex at 1 a.m.!)

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