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Day 16 : A meeting with a MP, fluorescent yellow shoes and a visit to the Irula village

Day 16 started in “the western edge” of the East. Moving on from Mankarai ( from an Ayurveda hospital and training center called Pathanjalipuri) , I feel it is of tantamount importance to mention the efforts and coordination help from Mr.Alwye and the coordinator, Mr.Shanmugam, whom I lovingly call “Eager Beaver”. Mr. Alwaye helped organise a very favourable encounter with the MP of Coimbatore, Mr.Nagaraj. By virtue of this meeting, we managed to get an interview to two television broadcasters, Polimer TV and Thanthi TV today.

On the back of the media buzz, the walk started through the hilly forests of Anaikatti. Natesa, with his new fluorescent yellow shoes was, back in his zone after recovering from the damage done by his now long gone, tattered ex-shoes. We did around 15km today.

We both walked with a renewed vivacity, hearing news about the valiant efforts back home in #chennaifloods. Things were slowly getting back to normalcy there, as we heard from our friends and loved ones that they had braved the worst of it.

For lunch, we kept it basic, with some chapatthi and eggs from a local restaurant.

A big welcome sight for us was to see the fantastic coordination put into place by Siddharta school in Erode, where we had visited a week ago. They sent us picture and posts on facebook about the walk they have done over there, in support of the fair trade movement and climate justice.

During our walk, we crossed an irula settlement ( . These village-folk have long been serving in professions from labourers in the fields of wealthy landlords and quite uniquely, specialising in snake and rat catching. Meeting the irula kids, and asking them about their dreams and aspirations and explaining, as simply as I could, the reasons for why we walk brought a tear to my eye. The innocence in their eyes but the understanding, at such a young age, of the concepts of injustice and more importantly, a desire for a better life, resonated strongly within me.

They already live a simple life, working hard to support themselves. They do not need the extra burden of trade injustice and climate change related adversities affecting them.

Thank you friends as always for your support. Join us for Day 17 tomorrow.

Please, if possible, spare whatever small monetary amount you can to enable Fairtrade India support farmers adapt to climate change and accessing a fair trade market. If anything, donate generously to give children, like the kids of the Irula a chance for a better, fairer life.

Pushpanath Krishnamurthy,
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