Hi all, Mike here with Day 26. Today we drove to Dolatpura and split into two groups. Erica, Brianna, and Zoha gave a formal interview to Sumeetra ben. Mitchell, Jon, and I walked around the village and mapped out the drainage system in the town. We also noted major landmarks and the locations of the houses of people that we’ve gotten to know.
From mapping, and learning about drainage over the past week, we’ve learned valuable information. Firstly, government-maintained drainage ditches cover only a small portion of the town. As a result, many people run excess water straight into the street or farm. Secondly, the drainage system that does exist is ineffective. There are pools of standing water throughout the visible portion of the drainage line, caused by uneven gradient and blockages (trash, sediment, etc.). Standing water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. We also walked along the pipe that is supposed to bring the runoff water out of town and discovered that the pipe was completely blocked with mud and rocks. A couple villagers told us that the owners of the adjacent farm had purposely blocked the line and redirected the flow into their property in order to help water their crops. Drainage is certainly on our radar in terms of potential project.
Later on, we played Frisbee with kids and a few adults. It was really encouraging to realize that we are remembering lots of names, and that people in the village are remembering our names. That simple name connection works wonders for building rapport. After heading back to Setco, we went to Setco employee Pharat Cala bhai’s house for lunch. We were served a wonderful lunch, along with ice cream.
After work, we went to Priyank’s house to say our goodbyes before heading back to America. Priyank is studying for exams and will be graduating college in the coming weeks. He was absolutely crucial for our project, and really helped us gather information and build a bond with the community. I will miss his witty sense of humor and honest feedback about our project.
Later that night, we began working on our final presentation that we will be giving to Setco in Mumbai. When we started laying out our story on the slides, I realized just how far we have come since flying in on May 2nd. We have several needs and problems that we are considering, including an ineffective drainage system, stoves that hurt the eyes and throats of the cooks, lack of accessible and sustainable toilets, unclean drinking water, and a shortage of electricity for farm work and pumping water. In the coming months, we will compile our information and choose an area to work in for the coming year. I look forward to the challenge!