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Tuesday, day 12 – Chai, Seva Mandir and Indian cooking class

Today we woke up early to take a walk before breakfast (we meaning today’s bloggers, Sandra and Frida). The main plan was to catch the sunrise (05:45), but because of our struggle getting out of bed at that time, the plan became somewhat compromised to just a walk in the morning sun. However, that gave us the chance to see a glimpse of the real Udaipur, with the locals focusing on their own lives instead of the tourists. Families gathering by the lake shore, bathing and doing their laundry. They were all very relaxed and we got a very peaceful feeling instead of the usual busy and chaotic atmosphere. Meanwhile the city (including the rest of the group) was waking up, we sat by the water enjoying the day’s first cup of chai.IMG_9686People of Udaiur swimming and doing laundry in the morning

10306237_908788425803721_5923309419388792948_nChai Masters with friend 

After having breakfast at our usual restaurant, we headed out from the city to today’s meeting with the organization Seva Mandir, a meeting organized by Stina. Founded forty five years ago, Seva Mandir has been working with community strengthening with focus on education, health care, women’s empowerment and natural resource development. For example they have an income generation program for people in the surrounding villages, such as Sadhna (that we visited yesterday). We all got the impression that the organization was well established and worked with people’s best interest in mind. They also told us about their work against child trafficking, specifically connected to child labor in the BT cotton fields (BT meaning that the cotton was genetically modified). Their impression was that the government only focused on rescuing and rehabilitation of the children, while Seva Mandir saw a greater importance in protecting the children from ending up in such a situation. Key areas they worked with to improve this situation for children was to make sure they went to school and not dropped out, and by helping families out of economic struggles.

IMG_9791 Group Photo with the spokespersones of Sava Mandir

IMG_9800Another group photo! 

After the meeting, we had some hours free before our cooking class began. Sandra and Fredrik went to their tailor and tried their new suits and we simply enjoyed resting in the sun. By 5pm we were picked up by two autorickshaws who drove us to our cooking class. A very friendly woman greeted us and took us, step by step, through dozens of delicious Indian dishes. We kind of got a wakeup call on what we had actually been eating for the past weeks. That meaning, sugar with some sugar, and some more sugar. Yum. No, just kidding, sugar and some vegetables and oil. The Indian cuisine is a great variety of ingredients; everything mixed together and based on loads of colorful spices. It was the best meal so far and we all felt very proud to have been a part of the cooking.

IMG_9892 Chai in the making 

IMG_0049And finally, the last group photo with our amazing chef, Shashi!

/ Frida & Sandra