Chalo Bihar : Last day of survey : May 28, 2014

– Posted by Katal Ladaf (ASER Associate – Madhya Pradesh) – May 28, 2014

It’s been three days of continuous rains here in Kishanganj. Almost as if the rain gods were watching our every step, waiting to start the water works just as we get ready to step out. The trick to beat the rains, I’ve come to realize, is to allow it to unleash its furore for the first 2 hours, and be patient. It will die a slow death. 
Then you carefully tuck in the hems of your clothing, make sure your shoes fit well, strap on a smile and march forward. I’ve been advising our surveyors to do the same. 
The rains have wreaked havoc on the schools too. The main road leading to the school I visited today, on the last day of survey, was completely submerged. Children and teachers waded into the water and were late to reach the school. We had to improvise on a game activity that involved some jumping and moving about so that children could dry off!
The government elementary schools in Kishanganj have moderately high enrolment compared to its neighbouring districts. And the last day of survey was tough, with several hundreds of Class 6 children across the 2 clusters who had to be tested orally and a pen-and-paper test. We also had to ensure that all teams gathered at a common point in the two clusters to complete the process of grading.
The Block Education Officer has been kind enough to provide help with this. He has erected a makeshift canopy for us to sit under for three hours every day, and some grub to get us by.

Our clothes are perpetually wet; our shoes muddy and hair damp. I’m staying at the DIET office in Kochardam Block where there is no provision to dry our clothes. But I’m not too hassled by all this as we’re all in it together, and what’s another day or two in the larger scheme of things? Let’s power through.