“Adventures with Easygel” and “Wandering the Streets of Mumbai”

Hi All:

This is Erica; just letting everyone know that we are indeed, alive, safe, and mostly well in Mumbai (a few of us are nursing colds, but with a family pack of cough drops and beautiful 110 degree F weather, those shouldn’t last long). The flights were mostly uneventful. The food wasn’t great. Jon watched Frozen. Mike watched Nebraska. Brianna was surrounded by three screaming babies for nine hours.

The most exciting part of transit was our adventures with Coliscan Easygel. As many of you may know, we are planning on doing some water testing in Gujarat, so we brought some water testing kits. These kits of specially treated petri dishes and bottles of gel needed to be refrigerated throughout our travels. This made things interesting. Our chosen method of refrigeration was a lunchbox and ziplock bags of ice; however, we could not take water or ice through security, so we had to dump it before we went through and then get ice at a fast food place in the terminal. The first two airports were fairly easy; a McDonald’s had an exposed ice machine and a Sbarro’s was generous enough to fill us up. Then came France.

The Paris airport is Extremely Classy; the most approachable place was a Starbucks, but it was packed and there was a long line and Oh! our flight was boarding in five minutes. If it weren’t for a caviar and lobster bar, we might have been out of luck! So, leave it to me to walk up to a classy restaurant in CDG clutching ziplock bags and begging for ice. Spoiler alert: I survived. We got ice. Our Easygel kits are now housed safely in our hotel fridge. We will be testing water in Gujarat, India.


The morning after we arrived in Mumbai, we ate breakfast and then wandered. We went to the markets at Colaba, the Gateway to India, and the Indian supermarket. As we were wandering, I was observing the way that people treated their trash: peels from fruit, newspapers, and random pieces of plastic. There is a lot of trash on the streets, but people seem to sweep it away from the fronts of their businesses. So, do people view trash as a problem? They keep throwing it on the ground, but they also don’t seem to want it there.

I guess that talking about trash in Mumbai isn’t really the point of what I was thinking. After we observed the trash, we started talking about needs in a community. If people don’t really view trash in the streets as a problem, who are we to say that it is? What if the trash causes disease, but people don’t realize it? Where is the line between developing a technology that is 100% desired by the community and developing a technology that isn’t completely accepted, but can be paired with education to solve a problem? Who decides the problem? Is there a happy medium?

So many questions. We’ll keep yall posted.

Hanging in there,


PS: Jon will be turning on his phone for his Birthday.

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