Hey, all! This is Rachel, toilets subteam co-lead.
Both subteams have been doing well in regards to keeping in touch with their respective partner families. Each week sees 2-4 calls made by BLUElab India as a whole. Having several Gujarati speakers has been a huge asset during these phone calls and we are so grateful to have our members contributing so much to the cross-cultural communication process. The calls have been great sources of information as well as good practice for how to interview individuals.
The stoves subteam has been progressing nicely towards building a stove as similar as possible to those currently seen in Dolatpura. They will then modify it in order to make it more efficient and decrease the amount of smoke. During weekly meetings the stoves subteam can be seen covering the blackboard with all kinds of different design ideas. Several members of this subteam (with Mike, too) had the opportunity to see one of the stoves built by Art and Design faculty member Professor Joe Trumpey. They also spent some time talking with Professor Trumpey about our progress as a team. His insights along with all of the awesome ideas the stoves subteam has been throwing around have made this a really exciting and productive time with lots of new developments on their way soon.
The toilets subteam continues to stay in contact with several community members of Dolatpura, especially our partner family. While it has been difficult to avoid miscommunications during translation, we are moving towards having a solid list of design requirements together, hopefully in the next week or so. Because we carried out a literature review on toilet/septic technologies at the beginning of the school year, we will have a ton of information to draw from to get us from design requirements to designs on paper pretty quickly.
Ultimately, our goal is to go to India with at least one design each for the toilet and stove projects. With our flight taking off in less than three weeks, we’re feeling the time crunch, but we are all making steady progress and are hopeful that spring break will be a huge opportunity to learn about the feasibility of our designs.
We also had the chance to enjoy a Bollywood movie a couple weeks ago at Mike’s place. There wasn’t a huge turnout, but the movie was awesome and it was nice to kick back and relax with fellow BLUElabbers.
The newest subteam of BLUElab India was recently created. It focuses on culture and aims to educate members on all aspects of Indian life. It currently has two members and their first presentation this past Thursday focused on religion in India, specifically Hinduism and Islam. It was really informative and interesting. I think we all look forward to learning more about the culture of Gujarat and India on the whole.
PS – We are happy to welcome our new members! We are hosting an official orientation for them tomorrow and look forward to sharing more of our team’s story with them.