Bhavya George is a storyseeking, adventurous Karnataka-woman who found herself in a tiny village, with the vast plateau landscapes and the lush woods as her office. Just as she likes it.

– When I was finishing school, after 12th grade, I thought “I would never be very good in a cubicle”. I wanted to go out to the field and work.


 

We sit outside Aadhimalai´s production center in Hasanur. The sun is scorching and we have had a long day of field visits and encounters, meeting people from all walks of life. And that seems to make this field coordinator particularly pleased.

– I think there are many stories here to bring with me.

She has only been settled into her new workplace for a few weeks when we get the chance to meet up and she is still housed in the resource centre a few kilometres away. But she is happy to be doing the work she is doing, the settling in can wait.

– My field has always been very environment-issued centred. I was never specific that it needed to be with indigenous people. But before this I worked with a fisher community. That was my first exposure to this kind of work.

A different kind of office

But it was a long way to get to into the Keystone-family. The first time she contacted the foundation was over a year ago. And from there the emails have been going back and forth until a spot opened up.

– I told Anita (he deputy director) that I am starting my career and I want to start from a place where I can learn a lot. I have now had ten days in Kotagiri and ten days here and I have met so many people already.

And she has already taken quite the liking to the quaint village of Hasanur.

– This is a different kind of work-cubicle. There is nothing that separates you from nature and I wake up to the sound of birds. It is a life I would like to live. Quiet, calm and simple.

Scrutinising policies

She has a big interest in policies and how they are put into practice and this newly declared Tiger reserve where her work resides, provides a great opportunity to look deeper into bureaucratic and laws.

– There is a lot to learn about how policies affect lives.

Besides that she will conducting surveys with the people in the surrounding villages, focusing on bio inputs.

– By knowing more we can assess the organic agriculture and what the support is that they might need.

Found her place

She is still trying to grasp the job description and figuring out everything from transport to cooking.

– I am a lazy cook, I don’t really cook in big and procedural way. But I have my millets, she says with a laugh.

But she feels like she has found her place in the world. At least for now.

– Keystone is kind of my tribe.


Text: Heidi Hendersson