Day 2: C is for Canal

Hi! This is Rachel. Our second day started off with chai and breakfast at the guest house. We got in the car to head to the office. Halfway there, our driver asked if we wanted to take a detour. Kabir, being the adventurous soul he is said “tikah ee”, which means okay. We veered off the highway and onto a side road that ran along the side of a large canal.

We stopped once to enjoy the view before getting back into the car. Our driver offered us a way to kill another 5 minutes before stopping the car again, this time by a bridge. He explained that if you feed the fish you can see them as they come to the surface. He went to a roadside vendor and came back with 2 bags of spiced snacks. Before we even started throwing the food we could see dozens of fish just below where we stood. When we threw down the food, they went crazy fighting for it, many of their bodies breaking the water’s surface.

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We finished amusing ourselves and returned to the car. We were at the office within a few minutes. Our morning included a meeting with the Setco Foundation team about our plans for our needs assessment. Nisha did a wonderful job of describing the methods we plan to employ over the next few weeks. The team was impressed by the presentation and offered some helpful feedback about our plans.

After some work in the office, we headed to lunch with the team, which included some delicious mango russ (pureed mango). Once we got back, we packed up and headed to Dolatpura.

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We met with Sumitraben, who has built 12 stoves since winter break. It was great to see her and catch up with her family (she’s now a grandmother!). We talked about the stoves and learned that there is still room for improvement in terms of durability. We got to see two of the stoves that she built when we were last here over winter break.

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After saying “bye” to Sumitraben for the day, we headed to Chatrasinhbhai’s house. We asked some follow-up questions about the toilet based on our discussion yesterday. It was good to get additional information before we move forward with any alterations to the toilet. We still plan to meet with the contractor on Friday to learn more about our options for making the toilet more user-friendly.

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We headed back to the office (and AC!) and received an invitation to dinner that night and a meeting with Harish, the Setco Automotive CEO, in the morning. We finished up any wifi-related tasks and finalized an outline for our meetings the next day before heading home.

Around 7:30 we headed to the restaurant, where we met Salmaben, Rajeshbhai, and Viral. We enjoyed a lovely buffet meal (including three desserts). Afterwards, we gave Viral a gift because it was his last day at the Setco Foundation before moving to Ahmedabad to be with his family. We were told a few weeks ago about his departure, but it was still really hard to say goodbye to someone that’s been vital to our team since its beginning. Hopefully he’ll make good use of his Michigan tie at his next job.

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