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Old 23rd April 2012, 10:30   #241
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What website?

Address pl. Fatafat!!!!
This website HERE , he has watermarked his pics with the url of his website.

MP
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Old 29th April 2012, 19:51   #242
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Digging up a old thread.

What is happening man ? where have you been ? No updates.

Which part of the world are you galvanizing in ?

cheers
ac
Ac, its been a very long time since I have been able to update the treads, but lots have had on the roads and it has just given meaning to the journey I am in.
Arunachal has taken me in. And it has opened up new roads to keep me on the move. Will update a post soon. However just to summarize, rode across nagaland and returned to Vijaynagar for christmas and new years. Post that explored more Arunachal and went to Ziro, Daporijo, Mehchuka and more.

Cheers.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 19:10   #243
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fantastic narration of your experiences. i have just loved going through them. i venture out alone as and when i get a chance, but you inspire me bro... just like you have probably inspired so many others.

i know one thing for sure, i will keep venturing out on longer and longer journeys having gone through your experiences. next time you are in gurgaon or thinking of heading up in the himalayas in the himachal or the j and k side, id like to ride along for as long as i can.

wishing you all the luck and great times ahead. cheers.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 18:22   #244
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Location: Desali-Dopowa and Batti
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A small track down hunli on the Roing – Anini road leads you to once a bustling village and one of the first circle offices in lower Dibang valley called Desali. This Centre used to cater to over ten villages around. Home to the Iddu Mishmi tribe which got reduced to a population of less than 12000 after a major earthquake in 1952. Desali got another jolt in 2004 with floods that wiped out the connecting road and washing away the mini hydro plant that supplied power to the villages around.

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After Vijaynagar this is another track where I felt the power of nature, jungles have taken over the road, people have gone back to the old ways of transportation, a five hour foot march to get supplies, to make it more adventures there is an incline of 60 degree mid way with high mountains in view all the time.

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I had gone to this village on invite for a traditional celebration called Reh. Reh is a gathering of people mostly relatives for fellowship. For the host this is an important and expensive event which involves multiple animal sacrifices which feeds the population who come there to take part in the celebration. People often take back a lot of meat home which can suffice the families for at least a week. As a part of the ritual it is important to give smoked rat or special parts of the sacrificial Mithun as a token of appreciation for coming for the event.

To cover the expenses the event the host plans it at least a year or two in advance, more the sacrifices better the status of the host family. The maximum sacrifices done in the recent past were about 300 Mithuns. The villagers come forward to offer their contribution in cash or in live stock as loans, which will be repaid by the host when the lender hosts his own Reh. The festival lasts for a week with a lot of meat, animistic chants, rice beer and dancing.

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At the festival I met a young guy, who lived 3 hrs further than where the festival was going on, some how we connected on the subject of alternate energy to bring light to the villages who have been in darkness after the 2004 floods in the region, they looked into many option including diverting a channel from the river and connecting it to a dynamo to create electricity that can light up a few bulbs in the night, however their plans could not materialise either due lack of funds, or no political will or due to the remoteness of the place where logistics for transporting heavy equipment becomes a nightmare. Governments do have schemes to support lighting through solar energy, but the support somehow never gets extended to some villages. The realisation of light being such an important resource did not strike me as much when earlier people from various places that I had been to asked me about my fully integrated solar bulb that I carry for my tent and for moving around in the night. They always used my lamp in the night and asked me to get some for them. After meeting this young guy, seeing his motivation and realizing the need of light’, I thought that something could be done.


I headed back to Roing, connected with my friends in Bangalore and on facebook only to know that there are many people who are willing to reach out. The next few weeks were spent reading up on solar energy and what could be the best option for these homes with sufficient light and backup. Friends came in handy to identifying the right configuration and costing. Interestingly all these planning was happening while I was still on the move riding the Naga hills and NC hills in Assam, will tell you more about that ride in the coming post.
Meanwhile I came back to Roing, learning about the culture, history and how far has electricity reached, There I learnt that there is a village called ‘Dopowa’ further than Desali where there is a settlement of 6 homes with about 30 people residing there, It so isolated that till date not even a single government official or and department has reached there to even look into the development needs of this village. It take about 2 days from Hunli to reach here, all supplies have to be carried by foot. The only source of light in the dark is firewood and majority of the population are old in age who have not stepped out of the village for many years. This is when we collectively decided that this should be the first village that should receive light.. Quickly I communicated the requirements to friends and in no time we collected Rs 5000/- for each house in the village through the internet and we were ready to initiate process of lighting up this village. Eventually we called this task as ‘The Batti Project’.

This year especially the rains has been quite relentless, so much rains in the mountains that the mighty Brahmaputra could not contain itself and flooded many regions of Assam, the most affected was kaziranga, twice the national park was underwater forcing all wild animals to seek higher grounds, and one could see rhinos, elephants, deers and even tigers wandering the streets for shelter. This added to the delay in receiving a lighting package to arrive.

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Alpheus, a friend from Bangalore arrived with the package of lights, and to help me with the installations. We unloaded the package from the railways (with some goof ups by the department), then hired a car, went to Dhola ghat to be ferried across to Sadiya ghat, then through some really bumpy ride reached Roing. In Roing, we had to wait for almost 10 days before we could move further as the waters of Deo pani river had risen up quite a bit for any vehicle to pass by to get in the Himalayan landscape.

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During this wait period we tested the product that was configured for ‘Dopowa’. While this was happening in the Sarpanch’s house more and more people from different villages expressed on how they would like to have light in their homes. The more I interact with the tribes the more I realize that light is the most important and basic need of the hour, because 2 hours of extra light in the night can make life more convenient and productive. Finally we got news that the waters at the deo-pani river had subsided and we could make a dash to the point where the villagers were waiting for us before we start the foot march to the final destination.

Since the roads opened up, a lot of food and other supplies were taken and the availability of a vehicles to head in that direction were limited, we had to share the pick-up van with vegetables and live stock. My bike followed till Hunli, a make shift centre for all villages around to collect their ration supplies and send their children to residential school. From here to reach Dopowa it would take 2 days on foot.

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Next day people from the village came to collect their units, we marched in together every one carrying their own units which approximately was about 12 kgs. That night, we stopped over at Desali 25kms away from Hunli where the whole idea of providing sustainable energy was conceived. I could see the excitement and anxiety from the tribal’s for getting the light for the first time to their village. *The following day we assembled again to dash for the final destination, Since we had the village head man with us, we has to make these customary breaks on the way where other villages are located, there we would be given ‘Apong’ (rice beer) filled with carbohydrates as energisers to move ahead, people were excited to hold a sample bulb in their hands and wonder what this device could do in the night. We took almost 7 hrs to reach not before a rickety bridge that connects 2 huge mountains with a 500mtr deep gorge.

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‘Dopowa’ is perched on a mountain top with 6 to 7 houses, here the main occupation is farming and most of the day there is nobody in the villages as most go to their field, children are sent to residential schools in Hunli and Desali and come home on the weekend to spend time with their parents. The oldest lady in the village is about 90+ yrs old and has never seen a light bulb in her village, even at this age she goes to the jungle to collect firewood so that she could cook in the dark. At dusk you will realise how isolated you are.* The only way one can know about what’s going on outside is through short and medium wave radio which will tell you what’s happening more in china than in India.

That night we installed the first light bulb in this village. All of us who were present there congratulated the head man (gaon budha), the smile of achievement and pride could be seen on his face, for under his leadership light had finally reached their homes. Alpheus (my friend who came from Bangalore to help me with the installations) and I quietly looked at each other shook hands as finally after 3 months of ground work over the phone we managed to finally reach here with a box of light, we were the first outsiders to step into their homes and make light happen for them.

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Last year when we were invited for Christmas by the lisu tribe in Gandhigram, we thought it could be a good idea to take some lamps for Christmas, so we managed to carry about 100 lamps to make their following year a little brighter, it felt good then but it feels even better that here it was achieved seamlessly with the help of locals and friends while the officials have been struggling to reach here.

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The next day we had the rest of the homes to be lit, a message was spread by the headman that no one from the village will go to the fields and help us in putting up the lights - we started by dividing work, Alpheus and me would do all the wiring and connections, the locals would help us install the solar panels, creating ramps and ropes wherever needed. Every house we went to, the villagers followed as if it was a spectacle or entertainment for them, we had to explain in each home how the entire solar unit work and tips on maintenance, in some houses the elders had to be trained in turning the switch on and off. As the day progressed the entertainment became education and now they started directing how the wires can be tied, or the ramp to be made out of bamboo or the placement of the bulb to spread light evenly in the house. Effortlessly one by one homes’ begin to light up, by night fall we were able to light up the entire village. In each house we installed one 20 watt PV panel, one 20AH battery, three 3watt led bulb and switches, a charge controller and about 20 Mts of wire.

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The following morning when we were packing, the elders of each household gathered, for a final meal before we left, they all had contributed one live chicken for this meal, this time all of them were very thankful to us for making it to their village and bringing light, while we were leaving the 90 yr old lady came to us with a huge chicken which she had domesticated , she said in*iddu(local dialect) “it’s a long walk back, eat this on the way” and “now I won’t have to collect more firewood for the night, Thank you”.
This was it….. I knew things will now be a little different in*Dopowa*after dark.
After a heavy meal we started our return journey back to Hunli where my bike was parked. The village head man escorted us till Desali, ideally we should have stopped here for the night but since it was just me and Alpy we decided to push our limits and as if in a meditative state marched till Hunli, a total of 40 kms in a day. In Hunli, we rested for a day meeting villagers and talking tales of the light we put in a village that even their own people did not see.

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Now the journey had to go further, I started my bike and headed to civilisation before the rains would block us out completely.
I don’t know what change this intervention will bring in their lives, or whether this change is good or bad for them. But what I know is that 3 months ago I met a guy who told me how hard they were trying to get light to this village and on my journey I could connect the people who are in need to the people who are willing to reach out and together we were able to achieve this task. For me the biggest thrill is that I was able to do this while I was still on the move. This project is complete. Now what next??

I would like to put a disclaimer that we are not an NGO nor we belong to any institution, nor this is the agenda or plan. This is just another leg of my journey which started in 2010.
It has been a year of experiences, adventure, learning’s, new rides, new bonds and some realisations that will stay with me through many more years of happiness lived on the road, taking each day as a new one… connecting and coming together with absolute strangers and becoming one with them… I wish to share all the tales that I lived and the experiences that moved me and kept me moving… the inertia of movement keeps me away from any phone or internet connection for days and months on end… and the next post might take a few days to a few months but there are more tales and many beautiful memories that I will share in the coming days…
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Old 22nd October 2012, 18:39   #245
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It has been a year of experiences, adventure, learning’s, new rides, new bonds and some realisations that will stay with me through many more years of happiness lived on the road, taking each day as a new one… connecting and coming together with absolute strangers and becoming one with them…
Merwyn, bro you the maan. All I have to say is that I wish you good health and happiness in your endeavours. While I would like to offer my assistance if you need any in organising efforts in Pune or something to the effect, I also know that for now it would be limited to location. Sometime in the future would like to have the ability to take some time off an help out if you so choose.
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Old 25th October 2012, 21:51   #246
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Sometime in the future would like to have the ability to take some time off an help out if you so choose.
Self - When i started this journey, i did not know where i was going, i still don't know where i am going. but when i think of all the experiences i have had, i think its good not to know where i am going.

I never planned out the 'batti project'. I had just put up a question on the net when i was passing by a town which had Internet. and people from here and there came together to make it happen and constitute an experience on this journey mine. So for the moment i don't know what is the road ahead. But movement will remain constant.

Regards
Merwyn.
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Old 9th February 2013, 15:53   #247
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i don't know what is the road ahead. But movement will remain constant.

Regards
Merwyn.
Would be nice to get an update on the roads you crossed in the last 3 months or so
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Old 10th February 2013, 01:06   #248
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Wonderful Merwyn. Mankind could do with a lot more people like you. People like me simply don't have the kahoonas to try something even close to this.

That was such a great start to my day.

Hats off, man.
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Old 11th February 2013, 12:33   #249
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Hello Merwyn,

I had missed all this until today. Read your entire log of experience in a stretch, 3.5 hrs to be precise. All I can say that I am happy that there are people like you who can still dare to do what they want and not just accept whatever life serves on your plate. In the process of fulfilling your own desires, you also 'lighted' some families which definitely makes up its social purpose.

So, its almost 3 years now, what's with the family front and how do you manage it?

Where are you now and how have you spent all this time?

Preying for your well-being, my best regards to you.
Saket
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Old 14th February 2013, 21:29   #250
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Great work Merwyn - bringing light to the life of tribals. I am proud of you and my prayers are with you.
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Old 15th February 2013, 14:09   #251
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Merwyn,

I have read this thread end to end, in one go. When I saw the title I felt that thid would be another good travelogue sprinkled with nice pictures, and how wrong I was.

Your Journey, provides a totally new dimension to the word travel !! Sometime back my wife and I had done a 3500 Kms "Short" journey, and it was a very humbling experience. I can just imagine how much you must have learned being out already.

One of the links posted on this thread had a line "If you do not take your dreams seriously, who will??" You do complete justice to the meaning of it. And just when I thought I was getting a grip on what this is all about, I saw the last few posts about helping people with the lights. Man Kudos to you !! You helped people where even travelers would hesitate going for the fun of it..

There is another recent thread in the forum, about a fellow member who wants to give up his future plans to make a career in ICE, I will be forwarding him the link to this thread right away. Hope it will help him gather his thoughts in some way.

Godspeed.
\m/ Respect \m/
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Old 15th February 2013, 15:06   #252
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You've proved that money and the consequential lifestyle is given over importance in our lives.

Another fact you have demonstrated is that journey doesn't just have to be a plan to reach a destination (am sure most of the "corporate lifestyle" people can never understand this).

kudos to you.
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Old 15th February 2013, 16:25   #253
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Self - When i started this journey, i did not know where i was going, i still don't know where i am going. but when i think of all the experiences i have had, i think its good not to know where i am going.

I never planned out the 'batti project'. I had just put up a question on the net when i was passing by a town which had Internet. and people from here and there came together to make it happen and constitute an experience on this journey mine. So for the moment i don't know what is the road ahead. But movement will remain constant.

Regards
Merwyn.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
US poet (1874 - 1963) All I can say in your case is that you're certainly living upto the promises you've made to yourself. Keep going man. You shine were others don't dare. Take care, keep going and Godspeed.
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Old 24th May 2013, 12:10   #254
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Self - When i started this journey, i did not know where i was going, i still don't know where i am going. but when i think of all the experiences i have had, i think its good not to know where i am going.

So for the moment i don't know what is the road ahead. But movement will remain constant.

Regards
Merwyn.
Hello Merwyn,

Long time since you updated this thread and a long list of your followers here. I am sure that folks here would love to hear from you and are waiting eagerly for this, including me.

Wishing you good health and lots of courage.
Best Regards,
Saket
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Old 12th June 2013, 18:24   #255
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Dear Friends,

I was able to make some contact with Merwyn (Roadinc) by email. Presently he is in lower dibang valley district, Arunachal Pradesh. He has undertaken a task to light up 135 homes and when he wrote, he had completed about 60 of them. There is no network in the place where he is currently working.

He writes and I quote "I wud also like to use this mail to inform all members on my tread tht I will get back with a long update soon.. And not to loose trust .. My journey still continues and never aims to stop. This july I will strt my fourth year of nomadic life.. And by now the journy, the medium, the sustainability and experience has evolved to extents I hv never imagined. "

I would like to inform that I am NOT posting on his behalf. I am posting this because I thought there may be some anxious people like me. Also, my post may draw a lot of good wishes to the man himself from many bhpians, though silently.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 12th June 2013 at 18:26.
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