Rose with the dawn for a drive through the countryside to the tiny town of Markapur, where we would spend the day with the kids of the second Orphans First home in India.
We arrived to see another group of incredibly excited young boys and girls who took to having their photos taken quicker than I could have believed.
As the afternoon began to cool, we said our goodbyes and turned back to the road, driving another few hours to the dusty mining town of Ongole. The road from Markapur to Ongole dwindled down to a single lane as it rolled through the most deserted stretch of countryside I had yet to see in India. Kilometer after kilometer passed by; a blur of lonely mountains, and stunted trees.
Slowly, signs of humanity blended back into the landscape; straight rows of tobacco with nary a soul tending to them. It was in one such field that I saw, almost out of nowhere, a herd of goats being shepherded along by a small group of men in white. Of course, I had to stop and meet these men to worked in isolation in a land where even such a word must seem foreign.
This group of shepherds still kept to the old ways, guiding their flocks as their fathers once did. We communicated in a language of smiles and gestures...and if there's one thing I regret, it's that I couldn't give them a print!
The kilometers wore on by, and the land changed drastically with the dusk. We passed a land of granite & marble quarries; hellish places where lonely headlamps shone into the grey in a never ending storm of dust and smog. The road soon wound through rough and tumble towns that sprung up around the fringes of the quarries....a mire of seedy looking buildings catering to men made hard by necessity.
By full dark we had reached the town of Ongole, spending our last night with our splendid hosts conversing our way through a lovely meal. It was days like these that I'll remember the most from India...