On Tuesday morning I arrived in India from the UK, albeit at an ungodly hour and caught a connecting flight to Udaipur, where I was met by Deepak - a wonderful smiling face after such a long journey! And now I am ensconced with the Babel family here.
Yesterday we visited the hospital site and it is quite changed from last time I was here because the monsoon has brought greenery to where there was only mud before. In fact, the whole city is now looking refreshed and on the way here in the plane, it was amazing to see the verdant landscape below and the huge rushing rivers which had flooded into the surrounding plains, to create huge pools of water in areas that I have only ever seen looking parched.
We went to Lio Ka Guda, Bari - the village where we'll be building the hospital - with Deepak and his father - Dr Chandra Babel - who is also a doctor (Deepak pictured left below) and his father on the right), working with the contractor to decide how far from the boundary wall, the building should be sited.
The placing of the foundation stone is critical in India and it took the help of the pundit to determine where exactly the stone should go. Yesterday and today men were at work digging the hole for the stone and you will see below the work in progress - by tomorrow, we will be ready for the official ceremony with the pundit. I am told that this involves both Deepak and me getting down into the hole with him and judging by the work in progress as we left today, this is going to be quite a challenge for me, since the hole was getting deeper by the minute! It also has some bearing on what I shall wear tomorrow!
While the digging was going on, the lawnmowers arrived (see top picture and below), because the site is currently covered in grass and we need to make space for all the guests attending!
And while Deepak and I have been inspecting holes in the ground, his wife, Dr Meetu Babel has been busy preparing the list of items required for the pundit for tomorrow's ceremony - this is no mean feat since the number of items is enormous and the variety is extraordinary, ranging from different foodstaffs to special ribbon and robe, talcum powder, herbs, spices and cow dung to name just a few. But I will be able to tell you more of this tomorrow when I finally get to inspect the every-growing assortment of items arriving here all the time.