By Hitarth Patel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sophomore studying agricultural and biological engineering
This series of posts was written by students in the ACES 298: Postharvest Loss Prevention study abroad program, which introduces participants to postharvest processes of grains and perishables and loss prevention in the Bihar and Punjab areas of India.
Today I woke up at around 7:30 a.m. thinking to myself that today will be another long travel day, so I got ready and put on my lazy but comfortable travel clothing. Soon after breakfast we departed for the airport to catch our flight to Delhi, on the plane to Delhi I thought to myself how I already miss the students of RAU, they were a great bunch of people to hang out with. Always making sure we got our concepts on whatever we were learning crystal clear, I liked how polite they were and how they always were laughing about everything. “I don’t want to leave Bihar,” I said to myself….and the plane took off.
As soon as we reached the Delhi airport we got our bags and headed for the bright orange bus that was waiting for us far away in the corner. I remembered waking here from when we first landed. Everyone was pretty quiet and somber on the bus, I guess the were tired and also missed the RAU students’ company. I started to think how I went to Bihar knowing almost no one from UIUC and came back with many life-long good friends. We all fit together perfectly like puzzle pieces. I was able to talk with everyone (even the faculty) as if we were good friends. It was an amazing learning experience in Bihar, and we got to make many good friends from PUSA.
A moment of astonishment came abruptly on the bus. One mile into Punjab and we all realized that this place was on a whole another level compared to Bihar. It was mindboggling to see how two states in the same country could have this vast difference in infrastructure. Comparatively, it almost felt like we were not in India anymore. All of a sudden I got excited for whatever we were going to see and learn tomorrow. A few hours later we arrived at our hotel, the moment I got into the room I laid on the bed excited for the next morning and drifted away asleep.
Hitarth is a participant in the ACES 298: Postharvest Loss Prevention class organized by the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Throughout the 12-day trip, students interact with policy makers and business partners in the agriculture industry, and work with fellow students at Rajendra Agricultural University (RAU).
Read more blogs in this series:
Travelogue 1: Greetings from India
Travelogue 2: Fascinated by Indian culture, architecture
Travelogue 3: Leaving the city behind
Travelogue 4: Diving into PHL studies with RAU partners
Travelogue 5: To the villages of Bihar, we went
Travelogue 6: Stress in numbers for India rice losses
Travelogue 7: These issues impact all of humanity, we need to learn to work together
Travelogue 8: Like Buddha, seeking enlightenment through partnership
Travelogue 9: Drones, sub-surface irrigation, and other ‘game-changing’ technologies at BISA
Travelogue 10: A fond farewell to India