You may recall that in 2006 I spent quite a while staying with a family in Kerala, South India. I’ve been in contact with them (admittedly far too infrequently) ever since and I’ve been racking my braincell for ways to help their financial status. Ajeesh is adamant that he doesn’t want charity/donations: instead he wants the chance to earn a living for himself and his family. He frequently asks about getting a job over here.
Researching visa and work-permit regulations isn’t very heartening: it seems the only way to get a work permit is for a company to apply for one on behalf of someone they’d like to employ. They’d then need to prove that they need to hire someone from outside of the EU, rather than use ‘home-grown’ skills and labour. (Of course I understand this – there’s enough unemployment here already!) However, if anyone out there in cyberland knows a legal way Ajeesh can come here and earn enough to make it worthwhile, please let me know.
On a more realistic note, I brought back some coffee from Nedumkandam, Ajeesh’s home village. I’m not normally a coffee-fan but this seemed very palatable. (OK, I know I should never try for a career in marketing!) So if I can import some and pay Ajeesh something for the effort of getting it in the post, then this might be a baby step forward.
So roll up all you coffee-drinkers and let me know if you want any genuine south-indian coffee. It’s currently about 200 rupees (£2·51) per kilogram, so I’d be looking for about 225 rupees per kilo – all of the extra Rs25 would go to Ajeesh. I don’t know yet what postage would cost. (Currently, Tesco sells Fairtrade-labelled ground coffee for at least £7·80 per kilogram.)
Similarly, Ajeesh can get top-quality cardomom for around Rs900 (£11·32) per kilogram. Tesco charge £42·33 per kilogram. So do yourself a favour, get some direct from Kerala and treat yourself to a lassi!
To make a lassi,
- Put the contents of about 5 fresh cardomom pods in a blender.
- Add in about 500 to 750 ml of soya milk. (I can’t see this not working with normal milk but I’ve never tried it.)
- Add fruit and sweeteners to taste. (I like a wee bit of cherry soya yoghurt or some maple syrup.)
- Add the juice of half a lemon.
- Optionally, add some ice-cubes.
- Blend until the drink begins to thicken.
- Pour and serve. (You’ll need to start soaking the blender straight away because the dregs get very sticky.)