Day 5: Not Such A Dry State After All

Namaste from India,

This is Zoha. India is beautiful, and Gujarat has delicious food. Today was a busy day. We went to the SETCO office and planned our schedule for the day with Viral. Later, we decided to travel to Katol and visit the village in order to test the water. As Erica, Brianna, and Viral interacted with the operator of the water pumps in the village, we (Mike, Mitch, Jon, and I) interacted with the community.

Erica and Brianna learning Gujarati and interviewing children and family members.
Erica and Brianna learning Gujarati and interviewing children and family members.

 

Mike, Zoha, and Mitchell take a group photo with the village.
Mike, Zoha, and Mitchell take a group photo with the village.

While we introduced ourselves to the community, many people from Katol gathered around us. Immediately, the boys (Mitch, Jon, and Mike) asked the young lads in Katol about cricket. This conversation led to a game of cricket. Mike was the star on the playground (sarcasm). As soon as he hit the ball, the ball broke in half. Unfortunately, this led to the game finishing a bit earlier than the boys hoped.

Mitchell plays cricket with the children of Katol
Mitchell plays cricket with the children of Katol

As Erica and Brianna continued testing the water, we decided to continue interacting with the community to learn more about Katol and the water issues. We asked numerous questions and many of the village members asked many questions in return. We learned that many of the village people make corn liquor or whiskey. Later, Mitchell decided that it was a good idea to play Frisbee. This led to a friendly game of Frisbee with the entire village. Many of the people in Katol were catching on to the game. I decided to photograph these moments.

Jon playing Frisbee with the kids in the village.
Jon playing Frisbee with the kids in the village.

As the village was playing Frisbee, I saw an ironman with his family scrapping his knife against a rock to sharpen the point. I was intrigued by his work, so I decided to approach him and his family. While I was introducing myself, many of the men in the village tried to flirt with me. This was a bit uncomfortable. I tried to ignore the situation and continue my conversation with the family to better understand their culture and their family business.

Later, I decided to talk to another family nearby. We conversed about our families and the lifestyle of people within Katol. Suddenly, two villagers, walking towards Mike, Jon, and Mitch, were carrying a drunk man. I was a bit surprised and was not able to comprehend what exactly was going on. I overheard a couple of people talking about how they would like to see how Jon, Mitch, and Mike would react to the drunk men. After seeing this, the team decided to exit the community.

John, Zoha, Mike, and Mitchell interacting with family members in Katol
John, Zoha, Mike, and Mitchell interacting with family members in Katol

At this point, we were a bit uncomfortable, a bit shaken up, and some of us felt a bit insulted. I realized that we did not have an exit plan for such situations. We all were concerned about how to react and avoid such situations. Some of the questions we asked each other were: Is it culturally acceptable to have a drunk man approach guests within the village in this manner? How can we effectively avoid or overcome such situations? Should we have expressed our discomfort with the people? Is it appropriate to discuss such matters with the village?

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Erica and Brianna ended our workday by completing four water tests in other areas. Furthermore, we may have found Coliform and E-Coli in our tests for Dolatpura, Gokulpura, and Water Testing Facility. This could mean that the water is a possible problem within the community of Kalol. This is exciting news! More information will be shared soon!

Erica and Brianna took a sample from the water canal which is connected to the Water Treatment Plant.
Erica and Brianna took a sample from the water canal which is connected to the Water Treatment Plant.

Zoha

P.S. Mike knows how to crack some pretty funny jokes! This kid is AWESOME!

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