Day 6 - Tala Kaveri to Paloor

Distance: 28km

The morning started with a walk back down Tala Kaveri. At the bottom - everyone was keen to show off to me their best Michael Phelps impersonation in the Kaveri Riverr - they rather looked like Eric the Eel. They insisted I come and have a bath with them but I politely declined due to the location of the shitter next door.

 Workers in the plantation

Workers in the plantation

The walk saw me firmly entrenched into Coorg country - an area of India known for its coffee and its indigenous people - the Kodavas.

  Coffeeee

 Coffeeee

The whole day I just had Al Pacino stuck in my head - "we know coffeeeee"!

 Workers packing the beans

Workers packing the beans

 Random worker

Random worker

It's harvest season - the pickers were right at work - a job only done by manual labour. Handshake after handshake - it was like sandpaper rubbing up against a baby's bottom.

 Woman pumping water from the Kaveri River

Woman pumping water from the Kaveri River

The coarse nature of the palms of their hands was only a reminder to me the lack of real tough work I've ever experienced. My feminine  hands could be a feature in the next Michael Hill catalogue.

In the afternoon I saw a Coffee Pub - run by the Self Help Women Coffee Planters' Association.

 Self Help Women Planters' Association

Self Help Women Planters' Association

The group was started by the ever charismatic Shamari, to empower woman not only in the Coorg area, but all of India. After sharing a conversation with the women there, Shamari invited me back to stay at her homestay down the road. An option too good to refuse.

She lived with her lovely husband Mani on a beautiful coffee estate just near the Kaveri River - Kaveri God was a dominant feature of the house. I felt at home. 

We continued our conversation from earlier - "It's a big problem in India, violence, rape and lack of equal opportunity... But the Coorg woman are strong and we will fight."

Looking at their history, it is no real surprise that India is further behind than in many parts of the world in regards to violence against woman and equality. However, it remains a global issue and one that cannot be ignored even in our own backyard.

In all issues, including mental health - a sense of community spirit provides a solution to the challenges faced by individuals. Building a strong support network around you is vital - one where you can share your issues and work in  partnership as a team as well as individually to help regain confidence in your self. We are all in this weird world together each confronting different issues but still the needs are the same -  to support both individually and as a community.

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