This week is an exciting time for BLUElab India because, having spent a couple of weeks in the village, we feel that we are finally starting to build real relationships with the villagers. As a result, we have already arranged for 5 people to sit down in private with group members for a more intimate interview in the next couple of days. Today, the guys (Mitchell, Mike, Viral, and I) sat down with our friend Prakash for a formal interview at his farm, and we learned a ton of great information about his life. The whole thing was really laid back and everyone was very comfortable, which is exactly what we’re looking for in these interviews. The guys have another two set up for tomorrow with older men in the community, and the girls have planned another sit-down to learn more about the lives of women in Dolatpura.
As we near the end of the trip (we only have three more days in Dolatpura!), we are starting to reflect on all that we have learned in the last couple weeks. Naturally, we wish we could spend more time here, but we have made tremendous progress as it is. We are learning incredible amounts about the community, and seeing a number of ways that we could potentially work to improve quality of life. Our scope has widened to include things like sanitation and drainage, stoves and ventilation, and electricity in farming. The coming weeks should continue to bring excitement with new breakthroughs and a progressively narrowing project focus.
After finishing our day’s work and returning to Baroda, the team made a mall trip to do some shopping. The mall provided a great opportunity for Mike to satisfy his perpetual craving for American style coffee and brought our differences in style and buying habits to the forefront. If you ever come across Club Fox clothing, you can make an educated buying decision with the knowledge that it is one of Mike’s favorite brands, but Mitchell and Jon do not approve. The winner in the mall excursion was definitely Mitchell, who came away with a sweet new Indian Cricket hat for the equivalent of 12 American dollars at a Nike store.
That just about wraps up the last Tuesday, as we came back from the mall for a relatively low key night before going to bed, although we did switch it up tonight by doing core after dinner instead of before.