Day 12: Coffee and More Julab

Jai Shri Krishna from Baroda! This is Zoha blogging for the day.

Today was an exciting day for all of us! We all went to the house of a ceramic builder, visited the homes of many people in Kashimabad and Kalol, and had the honor to meet and give updates to Mr. Udit Sheth about our project.

As soon as we reached the SETCO office, we all had our daily coffee or chai. According to Mike, the coffee was delicious because it had less milk. Salma Ben intentionally ordered coffee with less milk because of our diarrhea issues. I have officially joined the Julab (Diarrhea) Club. Brianna is the only person still hanging on and is the only lucky member.

After our delicious coffee, we all decided to meet a pot thrower within Kalol. As per usual, we gathered a crowd near the ceramic builder’s house. At first, we watched the ceramic builder shape the clay into a pot on a wheel. He spun the wheel and with wet hands shaped the clay into a vessel. We were all mesmerized by his skills and handwork. He made the entire process look easy!

Punja Bhai demonstrating how to press clay to create ceramic pots.
Punja Bhai demonstrating how to press clay to create ceramic pots.

Soon, Salma Ben decided to make a craft of her own. Eventually the whole team took turns working with the craftsman. I enjoyed the smooth texture of the clay on my hand. I found it extremely difficult to give the clay a specific shape. Nevertheless, I enjoyed working with the man. He was a patient teacher.

Salma Ben and Zoha attempting to shape and mold the clay.
Salma Ben and Zoha attempting to shape and mold the clay.

Later, we all split up into groups to travel to Kashimabad and Kalol. Mitch, Erica, and I went with Salma to Kashimabad. Brianna, Jon, and Mike went to Kalol with Gayatri Ben and Priyank. We all went from house to house in each village to learn more about water and health conditions within the community.

Priyank, Mike, and Jon interviewing people within Kalol.
Priyank, Mike, and Jon interviewing people within Kalol.

In Kashimabad, we met with people who were refugees from the 2002 riots. They were living in government built homes. Majority of them had water and other related issues: people were sick with jaundice, some had chicken pox, some households were not receiving water since the past week and etc. This was my first visit to Kashimabad, and I saw a huge difference between this village and other villages within greater Kalol. Kashimabad lacked some of the basic resources the other villages had: access to water, a clean drainage system, and etc.

After our visit to Kashimabad, the entire team went to Mayank’s house for lunch. Mayank is a SETCO worker who travelled with us to many of the houses, where we interviewed people. His wife, who was aware of our weak stomach, cooked food accordingly. After our scrumptious lunch (Gujarati thali), we went back to the SETCO office to meet with Mr. Sheth. We all chatted about our experience in India and our project. He assured us that everyone is willing to lend us a hand with our research, including himself. Lastly, he asked us about our travel plans within Gujarat. We were delighted to hear that they wanted to make plans for us. The hospitality that SETCO has shown us is spectacular. We appreciate all that SETCO has done to make our stay in Gujarat as comfortable as possible. We especially appreciate the hospitality of Viral, Salma Ben, Neethu, Udit, and Harish.

– Zoha

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