Day 23: Only four more days left! 0:

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After this weekend’s epic journey we decided to have a more chill day. Erica stayed home sick while Mitch, Mike, Jon, Zoha, and I left for the Setco Factory at 10:30.

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Around noon, Zoha and I went to a workshop for adolescent girls. When we walked in, they were doing an activity on communication skills. However we were so tired that our communication skills were sub-par and we spent most of our time quietly sitting with the girls while they cut out pictures from magazines and wrote down the emotions of the people in the pictures. After that activity we left for lunch at the factory.

After lunch, the boys (Jon, Mitch, Viral, and Mike) went to Dolatpura to talk to some of the men of the town to try to set up a formal interview. There were a bunch of kids and teenagers hanging out at the end of the street and they invited the boys over to talk. They talked about our weekend adventure to Gir and showed them some pictures, and then they got to talking about the town drainage system. Few days before we checked out the drains and noticed a lot of blockage and debris. Sangeeta Ben, in our formal interview with her, also talked about how waste water removal is a big problem. But when the team asked the boys on the street, they said they thought it was clean. According to Mike, it seemed like the people of the village have better things to do than worry about junk in the drainage system. Apparently, it is the local government’s job to clean it. Prakash said that the government came by only six days ago to clean the streets, but the drains looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in at least a month. They walked down the road to where some bricks were sitting in the drain. When the team asked about that, the villagers explained that whoever put the bricks there didn’t want their neighbor’s dirty water passing in front of their house. The team asked about what Prakash did with his wastewater. He has his own drainage ditch that goes into fields to which he adds boric acid to kill insects.

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The team also asked about Prakash’s wood stove which sits outside under a thatched roof in the back of their house. The ceiling was blackened and Prakash said he had to replace it once a year. They asked if he was bothered by the smoke and he replied that it was only bad for about the first five minutes, but otherwise it doesn’t bother him much. They also asked him if he cooked and he said he didn’t. When we talked to another woman she said that the smoke from cooking really bothered the eyes and lungs. We are starting to see a disconnect between the men and women with what they think the biggest problems in the town are. It’s something we’ve been warned about so we will be looking into it more throughout the rest of the week.

With only four days left, our trip is nearing an end. The pressure is now on to find a solid project idea to pitch to the Setco Foundation. Ever since we started focusing on a small community we have been able to more accurately pinpoint needs in the community. I’m waiting for that eureka moment when we figure out exactly the problem we want to tackle. I feel pretty confident that it will come, the way things are going. We’re getting a lot better at asking questions and people are become more comfortable in talking to us.

-Brianna

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