Does living on a boat get old? What’s it like as a western woman travelling in Muslim countries? These are just two of the questions put to us by you that we are answering in a new series of Q&A sessions. Each week, Liz and Jamie will take it in turns to answer two questions related to living on a boat, from technical to sailing tips to travel and culture. If YOU have a question you’d like us to answer, get in touch or leave a comment. We’ve included the two videos in this post.
[S02E19] This is the second part of our podcast interview with Govind Rathore who set up and runs the Sambhali Trust, a non-profit, grass-roots charitable organisation based in Jodhpur, the Blue City of Rajasthan. In this episode we continue to chat with Govind on the rooftop of his homestay, Durag Niwas, and we take in two of the empowerment centres that help women who come from troubled backgrounds.
[S02E18] A couple of kilometres outside the centre of Jodhpur, Govind Rathore and his family run the Durag Niwas homestay, but that’s not their main interest. In 2007 Govind set up the Sambhali Trust, an NGO that helps women from the lowest castes in India escape their lives of hardship and empowers them with the skills necessary to operate their own businesses. Many of these women only speak a local dialect and don’t understand Hindi, so they learn to read, write and speak Hindi and English. They are also taught sewing and farming skills. The work Govind and the Trust is doing is so important, having helped over 600 women in its five year existance, that we are dedicating two podcast episodes to our time with the Sambhali Trust.
Technically not the best image by any stretch but I do love the moment captured here. Three camera-shy women in one of the poorest slums of Mumbai proudly invite us into their home, but not before an informal photo-shoot which lasted all of three seconds before they darted inside.
With Liz being short-listed for another writing competition this week we thought we’d start off our Rajasthan series with one of her latest entries, which we’ve also made available for the iPad and Kindle. Beautifully written, this pulls together a number of themes set in Jaipur, Jodpur and Agra (Taj Mahal), the classic traveller trail called The Golden Triangle. The central story, however, concentrates on a remarkable man we met whilst in Jaipur whose quest to empower women from the lowest castes affected us deeply. Setting the scene for the next few blog posts this is moving, brutal yet ultimately uplifting. It is, in my opinion, Liz’s best non-fiction writing to date.
Where the women are forced to wear black and their presence is absent from the streets. Welcome to Oman, a country that lives indoors in air conditioned buildings and drives around in air conditioned cars. Welcome to Oman, an expensive country boasting the most incredible beaches yet desperately lacking in soul. Read what I really think of this strange country…