Mangalore & Goa, India
First & foremost – HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our oldest son, Christopher! We love you, & hope you received our text messages!
I’m combining the ports of Mangalore & Goa, India, for reasons I’ll outline momentarily. I have many dear, very close friends in America who came from Mangalore & Goa. They are among the finest human beings I know, and some of the most hard-working, dependable & honest people anywhere to be found. They will read these comments…and I want you to know I’m not being critical of your homeland – I’m only underscoring & repeating some of things each of you shared with me at one point or another in terms of why you left India in search for a better life. I completely, totally understand why each of you jumped at the chance to come to America, and I only want to share your own observations which now reflect those of my own. Mangalore has a population of roughly 600,000, Goa about 4.5 million and are only 300 miles apart. The literacy rate is excellent – the two cities average over 90% - the education system, largely funded by the government, is truly excellent. The residents are warm & friendly. Your government, however, stopped with the education element, just as you told me. There’s no additional infrastructure. With average family income of $2,700 per year, poverty is unlike anything I’ve seen. Earlier this trip, I thought I’d seen it all in Belem, Brazil & the Amazon regions. It’s not even close. There’s absolutely no concern for the environment in either city – there’s not a program anywhere for trash control. Garbage is simply thrown behind shacks, in alleys, along roadways, into rivers, lakes & the sea. Sanitation is not in anyone’s vocabulary or on anyone’s priority list – it simply doesn’t exist. Buildings, shacks, & vehicles are covered in dirt – shoes are seldom worn – traffic control doesn’t exist – air conditioning is rare. These areas are so primitive that instead of dredging harbors with machinery & equipment, you’ll see dozens of large canoes with men scooping sand into buckets, emptying the buckets into the canoes, then rowing to shore and bucket-by-bucket, loading the sand into dump trucks. With the exception of education, the government is totally oblivious to any semblance of modern technology. Yet, the attitudes of the people only reflect that of perseverance & happiness – they don’t know any other way – it’s all they’ve ever been exposed to. God love them all – I don’t criticize in any way – my heart truly goes out to each & every one of them. It’s now so easy for me to understand why my friends from India (at least from these regions of India) all do so very well in America with their professional aspirations. I’ll let the pictures below tell the rest of story – it simply is what it is. We toured both cities in depth. In Goa, we traveled 2 hours inland to a spice plantation – very interesting & educational – learned about pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, chili, mace, cloves, coriander, vanilla & nutmeg – the folks here REALLY know how to grow & harvest spices!
We’re told Bombay is much nicer than our first two ports – scheduled to arrive Wednesday, March 28.