Our Village Alankuppam

Hard to believe we have been living in this village for over two months now.  Alankuppam is one of eleven Tamil villages surrounding Auroville.  From the looks of the homes and small commerce here, this must be a pretty nice place to live. It has benefited greatly by its proximity to Auroville (10-15 minute walk).  Many village people work in Auroville and the money they earn circulates among small businesses selling and providing just about every kind of good and service.

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Here is our street scape, our gate is at the far right, above the cow.

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See our gate to the right of the red cross. See on our left a small store, a pharmacy and a doctor’s office where two local physicians see patients during morning and evening shifts.  For the evening shift, there is usually a line of people waiting their turn.  I had an eye infection early on and very conveniently walked next door to get treated.  The doctor visit plus small bottle of antibiotic cost 48 rupees, just under $1.  The antibiotic was 8 rupees (16 cents.  What would this cost in the US?  $30-50?

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On the other side is a business that makes molded concrete pieces. Behind him is a local guy who learned to make cheese at La Ferme Cheese in Auroville  and now sells it to restaurants and stores all over the region.  His place is very clean and organized, with thermometers and stainless steel vessels waiting his use.  

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Next to them is a woman who sells fresh milk.  Her cows spend their days in the field behind us and they are milked morning and evening.  We buy milk from her to make yogurt.  So simple, boil for ten minutes, cool down, add a bit of our previous batch, cover and let sit on top of our small fridge where there is a warm spot. After about eight hours or so, it is cultured and ready to go in the fridge.

Across the street is a small restaurant serving lunch and dinner most days. The Muslim owner and his Hindu employee make egg rice, egg noodles, omelettes, parotha (delicious flat bread served with a dipping sauce).  We often make ourselves a grated vegetable salad and take it over there or get something to bring home.

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On each side of the restaurant are meat vendors and they only operate on Sunday.  One sells chickens and the other sells goat meat or what the locals call “mutton.” Every Saturday night a truck pulls up with a load of chickens in cages.  The next morning, men line up at dawn to get their weekly chicken.  We hear a loud noise, a whirring sound and then a plucked chicken is weighed and handed to a waiting customer.  I assume it will go directly into a pot and onto the stove at home. No refrigeration needed.

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Customers waiting for their chickens, Sunday morning.

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You had better be ready to wake up at six am every day because the bus to Pondicherry starts its first run, honking as it winds through the village.  The bus is handy and cheap, though, costing 8 rupees and providing a colorful and authentic transportation experience.

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One of a handful of small grocery stores, selling a little of everything.

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More businesses.  Gerard got his hair cut by the local barber (left side).

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Public elementary school just a few buildings down the street.

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The green field is across from us.  The temple tower (straight ahead) is being restored.  Everyone patiently navigates through a pile of dedicated gravel in the middle of the road.

People live in all kinds of homes from this large concrete structure:

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To these simple huts:

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill & Jan
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 22:36:08

    Diane & Gerard,
    We have been following closely and can’t wait until the next entry. You guys are awesome, keep up the great work for humanity! However, it seems Diane is doing all of the work, as just about every photo has Gerard leaning against something (taking a break??).

    Bill & Jan

    Reply

  2. Donna Krasnow
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 23:52:36

    I can’t believe how many of these photos could be taken at the village where I lived – so many similarities. It sounds as if your fellow villagers are as friendly as those with whom I interacted.

    Merry Christmas, both of you.

    Reply

  3. Karen and Glen
    Dec 25, 2012 @ 19:16:27

    Thinking of you and hoping you are having a blessed Christmas. We miss you but are so excited for all your adventures. So fun to read about your activities and see pictures. Have spent the morning with Beth,Eric and kids. Our son is calling now so will go for now. Much love.

    Reply

  4. Judy Larson
    Dec 27, 2012 @ 01:37:15

    Marty and I just seeing life on your end! I love it all! Wish I could be there!! Miss, Miss you!!! Love you, J..Marty too!

    Reply

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