This is Zoha Momin, alumni of BLUElab India. I am in India on vacation and decided to stop by and visit the crew. I had a chance to meet a new face (Kabir), visit Dolatpura, mingle with SETCO, and interact with the community. Overall, it was a walk down memory lane and the team made it feel like I never graduated. Thanks for being so welcoming guys!
After eating Maggi for breakfast, we all drove with Krishna bhai to SETCO. It was great seeing him again, and he was practicing English with us. He is learning to speak the language by himself! It’s pretty inspiring.
Once we arrived at SETCO, we decided to change our schedule due to certain events in Dolatpura. Rachel took the lead in reorganizing the calendar. After the team had a cup of chai, they discussed their plans for today. My plans were to visit the community and SETCO. In addition, the team needed translation support, and I was gladly available to help.
After lunch, we drove to Dolatpura. Everyone was taking their afternoon nap when we arrived. As soon as they saw the entire team, everyone walked to greet us. I was very excited to see familiar faces!
The boys decided to speak with Praveenbhai while Rachel and I visited Sumitraben and Sangeetaben. We spoke with the women about their roles in the stoves and toilet projects. We received feedback from them in regards to their thoughts about the technology, their current roles, their future aspirations, and specific improvements the team could make.
The conversation with Praveenbhai was about his current thoughts on the project and how it should proceed. Upon receiving feedback about both projects, we learned that Sumitraben built a low smoke chulha for her sister. We drove to her house and learned that the stove was destroyed during the monsoon season.
Once we arrived back to the office, the team decided to reconvene and discuss our findings. There was a lot of discussion on future implementation plans and finalizing the design. All in all, it was a great day. The car rides were occasions to discuss the projects, snap chatting was a norm, Dolatpura kids teaching us kite flying skills, SETCO’s constant flexibility, and everyone in the village demanding beautiful photos to be taken.
The faces of the BLUElab India team changes, but the vision, motivation, and energy to impact the communities keeps growing from year to year. I remember the first trip Erica, Mike, Mitch, Brianna, Jon, and I made. We have come so far, and we have accomplished a lot. SETCO’s support and BLIP’s hard work is a perfect combination with Dolatpura’s motivation to collaborate. BLUElab India will always be a place that I can call home.
Thanks for letting me visit guys and good luck. I know you will kill it!