The Telegraph
Friday , September 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rustic delights floor foreign guests
- Cindy and Marah love Jharkhand experience

There is not much that separates them.

The food, the heritage the cultural diversity and the hospitality makes them feel at home. The litter, the noise pollution, the generally low awareness about hygiene and the chaotic traffic situation are, however, things that they need to get used to.

Meet Cindy Li (21) and Marah Adnani (22), two foreign exchange students from London and Morocco respectively, who have dropped anchor in the state for the past two months or so and have so far quite loved the Jharkhand experience. The students are here on an exchange and internship programme through sponsored by the Association Internationale des Etudiants en Science Economicus et Commerciales — a global youth organisation.

The two students, who were not known to each other till they happened to land in Jharkhand together sometime in July, have been hopping through villages, interacting with people and of course gorging on rustic delights which they claimed were always yummy.

The duo — while Cindy is a third year business management student at the University of Coventry (London), Marah studies audit and management in the fifth year of Ecole Nationale de Commerce et Gestion (Morocco) — have had several tête-à-têtes with chief minister Arjun Munda, including one at his official residence in Ranchi on Tuesday, where The Telegraph caught up with them.

“We are simply awe struck by the cultural diversity of Jharkhand. The hospitality of the people here is natural, the food tasty,” Cindy told this reporter.

Marah chipped in by saying that they loved interacting with people and had so far visited hamlets in Ranchi, East and West Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan and Hazaribagh, with the help of Adivasi Welfare Society, a Jamshedpur-based NGO, which has been facilitating the visits.

The interns, who have compiled a paper on their observations and suggestions on life, culture, education and village economy as they saw it, however, said they had been repulsed by the litter they found lying at the roadsides, the amount of noise pollution and the chaotic traffic scene on the capital roads. They also made a special note of the poor level of awareness about health and hygiene. A copy of the paper penned down by them has been handed over to chief minister Munda.

“The schools had very few teachers. The classrooms were small and overcrowded. The teachers on duty too were not well qualified. For instance, an English teacher did not know how to speak in proper English,” Cindy told The Telegraph.

They, however, admitted that the shortage of qualified teachers was a universal problem.

The two girls were all praise Jharcraft and the number of rural employment opportunities that it had generated. “We were told by the villagers that Jharcraft has helped a lot in changing the rural economy. More and more villagers, particularly women, should be linked with the project so that the rural economy improves,” Marah said.

She added that after returning back to Morocco she might just open a Jharcraft showroom there to help showcase the talent of Jharkhand artistes.