Day 19: Visitors in the Village

Hi guys Kaylla mostly here (50% of my body weight was probably shed from sweating in the heat). Pre apologies for the lack of nice pictures; I left the memory card on the table this morning and took ten pictures before realizing they were going no where. Anyways, today we split up with me Erica and Zoha heading to Dolatpura to talk to several women from different households to get their opinions on composting and if they would be open to having a composting toilet in their home in the future. After visiting three homes accompanied by Sangeetaben, we obtained a general consensus that the women just wanted more information on composting, such as what the compost would actually look like, what it would smell like, how would it affect crops, and other questions on feasibility and cost. Though we had heard from the women in the fields on Monday that they were unwilling to handle the waste, the response from the women in Dolatpura seemed positive if more information and demonstration/proof was provided. Sangeetaben suggested that the best way to convince people would be to build a prototype. Though we are not there yet in our design process, it was good to see interest from women within the village and gather questions for the future. After visiting the other women, we went to Sumitraben’s house to check up on our stove as it spent the day drying yesterday in the sun. Unfortunately, there were some pretty deep cracks on various parts of the stove, particularly (again) the places near metal such as the bridge and the chimney, but Sumitraben did not seem too worried about it.

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After putting another coat of dung on the stove, I ended up sitting down with a bunch of girls nearby to learn some Gujarati. So far on the trip, not being able to talk and communicate to people because of the language barrier has been one of the most frustrating aspects of working in another country. Yet being here and hearing a lot of Gujarati has helped me pick up on a few words and phrases, and gestures go pretty far as well. As we waited for Urja and the rest of the Setco team to come check out our progress at Dolatpura, I picked up a charred stick and started to draw animals on the ground to pass the time. A few seconds in, several girls came over with other pieces of coal to draw along with me, so we exchanged the way each one was said in English and Gujarati, and somehow within that they asked me if I was in college, where I went, and how to spell it; I learned how to write “college” in Gujarati too.

While we were in Dolatpura, Sai and Shilpen were at the Setco office. Sai spoke to Salmaben about some government programs that were creating smokeless chulhas and Shilpen began planning the final report and also began writing it. Also, Urja asked if they could meet with the head of the research and development, Mr. PK Roy, to talk about our project because he was very interested. They learned a lot from him regarding chimneys and drafts. After the meeting, they met us in Dolatpura.

When Urja and her company arrived, the team talked extensively about the design, implementation, our progress, as well as Manjulaben’s stove which utilized our technology with her add-ons. After coming back and doing some office work, we met with Urja to continue our discussion on our projects.

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