THE 2015 NARAYAN PRIZE FOR GUIDES’ LETTERS, 2015
We are delighted to announce the results of our annual competition to reward our Guides for writing letters about their experiences with Village Ways. The competition is known as the Narayan Singh Bisht Memorial Prize for Guides’ Stories, and is dedicated to the memory of Narayan of Mousiachaur Village, Binsar. Despite his disabilities, resulting from childhood polio, Narayan could out-walk anyone and was always the life and soul of a walking party. He was a keen bird watcher, too.
This year the competition was open to our guides throughout India. Congratulations to all who submitted letters, and the winners for 2015 are:
1st Sajna (Mothakkara)
2nd Smitha (Mothakkara)
3rd Pankaj (Binsar)
We shall be presenting certificates and cash prizes: 1st Prize: Rs 4,000; 2nd Prize: Rs 3,000; 3rd Prize: Rs 2,000.
The Winnng Letters
1st Prize: Sajna Shaji, Mothakkara
"My name is Sajna and I am from a rural family of Mothakkara village of Wayanad district. My family consists of my husband, two children and my mother in law.
After my marriage I was moved to Mothakkara where I remained as a house wife and helped my husband in the farming activities. When I heard that Village Ways was planning to conduct a training programme in Mothakkara as part of opening their new guest house, I had several doubts about it. Later, I understood that this is a part of community tourism and hence I joined the first training conducted by Adam and Emma but the main aim behind it was to speak English legibly. Later the various training given by Village Ways changed my life and slowly I became a guide. Now I feel as if I got an IAS even though I have not completed my graduation because I have a little knowledge of everything in the village like birds, plants, animals, butterflies, medicinal plants and of course some french also. I have been in Mothakkara for the past six years but I hadn’t noticed the beauty of my village never before and now I can recognize birds from their sound.
When the first guests came, I welcomed them with excitement but great fear in the mind. During our village walk we introduced the guests to our neighbours and other villagers. The very next day an old lady asked me to teach her some English words so that she can communicate directly with the guests. The other villagers also welcomed this idea and we began to teach them small words on English. Our villagers who were very backward in English began to learn English words and then to make small sentence and it passed on from the older generation to the newer generation. Now I feel very happy because I was able to contribute my knowledge in English to make the villagers speak English without shyness to the foreigners.
I take this opportunity to thank all the Village Ways team for their co-operation and especially the trainers who boosted up our confidence in dealing with a foreigner.
2nd Prize: Smitha, Mothakkara
"I am Smitha living in Mothakkara very near to the guest house with my husband, three children and mother- in- law. My husband is basically a farmer. My children are studying in 8th, 5th and 3rd standard. My family faced many financial crises also. By this time, we came to hear that VW is starting a guesthouse in Mothakkara and the nearby people would get a job. I doubted whether I would get a job because I was unable to speak English.
When Adam and Emma, who was our first trainers, came I prepared food for them .They appreciated my cooking and this was the first time I came across and got appreciation from a foreigner. They were here for about three weeks and their culture and discipline influenced me. This was an unforgettable moment in my life. Afterwards we got more training and this added to my confidence. Now I am able to speak English and became a guide. My husband also got job as night watcher. We are learning new things day by day from the guests. This is truly a great motivation for my children also. When each guest departs, we feel very sad.
When I got the first income as a guide, I bought new clothes for my family members. I got a very good support from my family also and I feel very happy and proud that this guesthouse is a turning point in my life. Looking forward for a bright future in my life with the VW guests and my heartfelt wishes to all VW team behind this great venture
3rd Prize: Pankaj Bora, Gonap
"My Village Gonap is surrounded by mountains where people do their agricultural work. They keep cows and goats and grow crops.
People take their animals to graze in the forest .
When I was 6 or 7 years old I use to take the cattle’s to the forest and remember when I was 12 years old , one day I took the cattle’s to the forest very far away from the village , I was playing flute on the top of a big rock , Suddenly a big leopard came through the bush and attack and killed 4 goats , I cried too much and went away back home. My mother was standing on the courtyard and when she saw me she asked me “ why are you crying” , I was very afraid and thy mother was again and again asking me why I was crying, I told her that leopard took my four goats . I did shout loudly but the leopard did not run away. My mother said to me “Goat is not important you are important for me” she give me food and I went to sleep. My father came back from the field in the evening, My mother told my father and he said I might went to sleep in the forest and he could not take care of goats. My father was very angry and told my mother from now I will not go to the forest with the cattle’s. Then he put me in the farming to look after the garden till I was eighteen , I was growing potatoes, garlic, lentils , wheat and was working as a farmer.
Then one day my father ask me to go out and find a job, I went to Kathgodam 130 Kms from Binsar and worked as a labourer for 3 days , I was not happy with work I was doing , my shoulder skin was hurting when I was carrying the heavy burden.
So one day I was in my room and suddenly I receive a call from Deepak , who told me that Village ways is organising a new guide training. I immediately came back home feeling that I should not miss this opportunity. So on 14th August I joined the training in Risal , Deepak and Katy was my trainer , I was trained to guiding skill and basic French and English language training. I would take this opportunity to Thank Deepak and Katy and Now I feel that it was my good decision to leave the job and come back to Binsar. Joining Village ways as a guide I feel I can now pursue and go ahead happy in my life."