Today we finally reached Patna, the capital of Bihar. It is a place that, when you arrive, you cannot wait to leave.
From here, for the next 100/200 km we must expect the worst because the river is so drained during this season that it is very easy to get stuck in the shallows. But this is not the biggest problem because, at worst, I will simply get off the raft and drag it through the sands. The real problem is that I could end up on parts of the river that perhaps do not lead anywhere. That’s why we have been studying maps for the last few days in the hope of finding the safest passage. Our next days will be decisive.
For most of today I had to make some repairs to the raft. Local boys approached me with curiosity. At first they came near with caution but after a first smile they would relax and become more friendly. There were obviously those boys who looked at me and smiled, shaking their heads and mumbling something that sounded like ‘where do you want to go with this wheelbarrow?’ With others I could talk and maybe even have an interesting discussion. For example, a teenage boy told me that the state of Bihar banned plastic three months ago and yet the sale of plastic products has not yet stopped. His school reacted by introducing a class specifically focused on ecology and plastic waste management. It is a concrete step towards the kind of awareness I have been listening to recently. But the problem is that, among his group of friends, this boy was the only one actually attending school.
P.S. At the end, I issued a press-ups challenge to the boy who played the role of group leader. If he reached 20, I would give him one of my steel water bottles. He succeeded.