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Final Trek — Nandagomukh

After all this time we traveled two hours over pothole-laden roads to Nandagomukh. This village of battered, mishmash mud-brick huts and shacks is still one of my favorites.

Upon on arrival we were greeted with a megawatt smile by the old “chupple maker.”

He had received a gift of two goats from the Christmas giveaway. Both of his goats are pregnant and will soon be an income producing small flock. Already, his family’s diet has been enhanced.  Laughing and singing he actually danced a jig when Dr. Suresh gave him the goats.  He said, “Now I can resign from chupple making.”

All of his life, this man with dark leathery skin of a village dweller had made chupples (sandals) out of old tires.  Walking barefoot 10 miles a day was not uncommon for him.  Most of his sales were to farmers who wear these sturdy chupples to help avoid being punctured by the many thorns in the fields. I asked him, “Do you wear the chupples you make?”  A resounding “NO!  No shoe has ever touched the bottom of these feet.” Now at an age of 60+ and having severe asthma he was finding it next to impossible to make a living wage. This gift has significantly improved the remainder of his life.

Loren was able to plead with Bombay Medical for a cheaper price concession for the man’s medication.  Being taken advantage of, he was paying more than the price written on the strip of pills. In addition, he had the cost of a round-trip bus ride into Sauner.
Dr. Suresh will deliver a small quantity of the pills each week and let him pay this greatly reduced price. We want to help but if everything is given free you can enable poverty.

His son, Gautam, is an alumnus of Prakash and chakadar/watchman for the Prakash property in this village.  Every week he and his sister hold a Sunday school program in his small home on the property. This year Gautam has farmed the property with soybeans and tur dal. 

This premium dal will be cleaned, dried, oiled and then safely stored as a savings account for the marriage of his sister. Tantamount for him is the burden of her marriage. It so often falls upon the son.

Gautam’s dream is to own a Cappri Chupple stall in Nandagomukh. With a population of 20 thousand, he would have a sizeable clientele. Buying the chupples at the wholesale market here in Nagpur, he would then sell them in the village attaining a nice profit.  When and IF he presents a business plan, he may be the recipient of a micro-lending plan.  Self-reliance would then be a reality.

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