Hey Everyone! Sai here. Sorry for the delay with this final blog post. It has been the craziest past few days with wrapping up our work for the month and fighting jet-lag. Here’s a quick recap of what happened.
May 27th started with a cool factory tour of Setco Automotive. We were shown all the different steps in making the clutch. After the tour, Natasha, Rushil, and Anjali worked on a site visit document that would help the Setco Foundation employees with determining what questions to ask when they visited the partner families. Kaylla worked on editing photos for the community members and also for gifts to the Foundation employees while Sarah and I went to our testing facility to attempt our first water boiling test. It didn’t end up working out unfortunately because wind decided to huff and puff and blow the tent open and put the fire out in the middle of the test. So we decided that was that and went to lunch.
After lunch, we went to Dolatpura to do many things. Natasha and Rushil checked dimensions and spoke with the contractor about construction. When we arrived, they had been working on the outhouse and filter.
Since we were going to be testing the ceramic chimney chulha (c3, just made that up) which we had built a few days ago, we set up a small part of the water boiling test to collect some preliminary data. Along with Atul (SF employee) and Sumitraben’s husband, I conducted the test and gathered the data. Meanwhile, Sarah and Anjali went with Sumitraben to build the ceramic chimney chulha for the anganwadi. After the short test was complete on the chulha (stove), Atul and I went over to the anganwadi to see the chulha build.
Natasha and Rushil went with another Setco employee, Kinchan Bhai, to Kalol to find a lid for the Indian style toilet and paint to label some important parts of the bins and plumbing pipes. When they returned to Dolatpura, the stove was finished and we all left for the factory and then went home.
May 28th involved a lot of work at the factory. Sarah and I went to the testing facility to do the water boiling test on our single burner design. It took about an hour and half to complete the first half of the test and it was incredibly hot (123 Degrees Fahrenheit) so we decided to finish the test after lunch.
Rushil, Natasha, and Anjali worked on writing cleaning instructions for the toilet that would be given to Chatrsinh bhai and his family. Kaylla began work on the final trip report. After lunch, Sarah and I spent the rest of the day completing the full water boiling test on both chulhas. This was our last step in the validation testing on the traditional chulha and our chulha design that we had planned for the trip. A preliminary look at the data revealed that our design almost halved the emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter! We will still be going through this data and completing the full analysis over the next year.
Natasha and Rushil went with Atul to meet the contractor to review the build and talk over the plan for the rest of the construction. We determined that the construction of the technical aspects of the toilet like the composting bins and plumbing work would be completed before we leave which would just leave the finishing work like plastering and tiling of the floor for after we left. Meanwhile at the office, Kaylla was continuing to work on the infographic and the final trip report. We all reconvened at the office and immediately left for Baroda. Before going home, we dropped off photos for printing and went to a few shops to get gifts for everyone at the foundation. When we got home after dinner at 9pm we put all the gifts together and passed out for the next and last day at the office.
May 29th began with working in the car to determine some maximum readings from the validation testing to show some preliminary data and also wrap up the final presentation to the Foundation. When we arrived at the factory we immediately left to Dolatpura to say our goodbyes and talk about the plan for summer. At Sumitraben’s place we handed over the photos and hung out with their whole family. We talked and joked around for a while and finished by taking more family photos. Sumitraben and her family have put in an incredible amount of time into our project and we can’t thank them enough for working with us.
We also met with Chatrsinh bhai to explain the remaining construction and thanked him for all the time him and his family had given us while we developed the toilet design. During the construction, Chatrshinh Bhai and his brother, Prakash Bhai, were overseeing and helping the workers with whatever they needed to keep the build on schedule. After saying goodbye to everyone again we returned to the factory for lunch. Following lunch, we gave our final presentation to the whole foundation team and discussed plans for the summer and the upcoming year. We concluded the presentation with giving everyone gifts and thanking them for time and help over this month!
Before we left, there were just a few more tasks to wrap up. I worked with Rajesh bhai and Atul to download the software for the sensor that was going to be installed into the compost bins to keep track of temperature and humidity levels. I showed them how to download the data from the sensor and also how to troubleshoot it if it was having problems. Meanwhile, Natasha, Rushil, and Viral went to Dolatpura to meet the contractor to sort out a plan for the rest of the build and say some final goodbyes to everyone. Finally, when they returned and I wrapped up the sensor work, we said our goodbyes to everyone at the foundation and went home. That night, we went to dinner with Salmaben and Sonam for the last time and returned home for a wonderful few hours of packing.
The next morning, we quickly finished up packing, thanked our caretaker, and left for our train to Mumbai. The day we arrived in Mumbai we mostly rested and tried to digest what happened in the previous few days. Then for the next two days we had meetings and hung out with Urja to talk about the progress over the month and future plans. Harshal, Urja’s husband, also joined in on the conversations and suggested creative ideas that our project can look into for the future. Overall, the meetings revealed great progress and even more excitement in the next steps for the coming year!
Whew, that was a lot. But before I say bye, there are a few people to thank. First, a huge thanks to Urja, Salmaben, Viral, Rajesh Bhai, Sonam, Atul, and Rinki. Viral was in Dolatpura with Natasha and Rushil when this picture was taken. Sorry Viral.
The Foundation is very busy doing amazing work in many communities but takes the time to support our team in any way that’s necessary. From helping us with strange requests like building a tarp tent on factory grounds to helping keep the project going while we aren’t on the field, we cannot thank everyone at the foundation enough for their support and friendship.
Now to the travel team. I have to say that we went into this trip with a very packed agenda considering the great progress the team had made over the past academic year. As we went through this month, the travel team worked incredibly hard everyday to overcome obstacles (like the record setting temps). Thanks to Natasha and Rushil for doing so many calculations and design adjustments to the toilet. They were driven to do what it took to begin the construction of the toilet before we left. They reached a point where they were able to recall dimensions in meters and feet on the spot and relate everything they saw to toilet dimensions. Thanks to the team back home who also helped with doing research and reviewing the calculations.Thanks to Sarah for working incredibly hard on completing the stove validation considering the blistering heat and helping Sumitraben with all the stove builds! Thanks Kaylla for all the amazing photos, powerful presentations, and help with the stove builds! The representation of our project and our team members has greatly benefited from your work. Thanks to Anjali who helped us with translation and conversion of our documents into Gujarati! And I could keep going on about this team but I think its time to let you go. Finally, thank you for reading and keeping up with the blog.
Last thing, I promise. Here are some of the latest photos of the toilet construction that we received from Viral! The construction of the toilet should be complete in about 3 more days! Please feel free to comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!