Day 8: I is for Interviews

Hi all, it’s Natalia again. Following our typical morning routine, our day began with a brief spell of rush hour traffic. With no time to lose, we used the time to sort out our plans for sampling groundwater near the toilet prototype, taking a brief pause in our conversation to watch Sabirbhai scold a rude truck driver.

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We arrived at the office to find that Elsa, one of our friends at the Setco Foundation, had returned to the office after a trip to see her family. We also said hi to Urja – the President of Setco Foundation and one of the coolest people ever – who is visiting Kalol for a couple days.

Our morning was spent in the nearby community of Alindra, evaluating its potential as a possible site for our needs assessment. In the first faliya, we had the chance to conduct interviews in two different households and talked to a wide array of people, including an anganwadi worker and two health workers. We even had the good luck of encountering a member of the panchayat (the local governing body), who showed us a shortcut to the other faliya. In the second faliya, the women we interviewed were very friendly and really opened up to us about their lives.

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Exhausted from a long morning of interviews, we piled into the van and cranked the AC all the way up. Back at the office we reevaluated our timeline for the week and began preparing for our meetings in the afternoon. After a delicious lunch which included puri (deep-fried bread) and shrikhand (a sort of sweet yogurt pudding), we met with Urja and a few people from Setco’s Research & Development department to discuss R&D’s involvement in the stoves and toilets projects moving forward. We then had a chat with Urja about our project in general and got an invite to lunch with her in Mumbai.

We returned to the guest house, napping all the way. After chai and a snack, we all took power naps until dinner arrived. Dinner was followed by an intense debriefing session in which we sorted out the day’s events, discussed and prioritized our criteria for picking a community, and evaluated the first few communities we had seen to begin making our decision.

By the time we accomplished this grueling task, it was midnight – the perfect time for midnight mangoes! This refreshing fruit was the perfect way to end our productive day.

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