Day 12: M is for Mango Masti

Hey everyone! Rachel blogging about our 12th day in the field. The day started with our regular morning routine of breakfast and chai and Nisha ensuring Kabir was smothered in enough bug spray to prevent bites. We piled into the car and arrived at the office around 9 o’clock, early enough to prep for our 9:30 meeting with the Setco team. This was the meeting where we were going to explain to them our selection of Barola as our partner community.

Due to some delays related to other SF projects and obligations, we eventually had our meeting at 11:15. Elsa, Gayatriben, Rajeshbhai, and Salmaben listened as our team presented our findings about the various communities we’ve been visiting since we arrived. We also outlined our schedule for the rest of the trip (which includes shockingly few days, especially for me since I have to head back early). We will be really busy collecting all of the information we need, but it’s exciting to be at a point where we know what we need to be doing day-by-day moving forward. At the conclusion of the slides, the Setco team voiced their appreciation for our thoroughness and agreed with our decision to move forward with a needs assessment in Barola.

After our meeting, we went to lunch in the canteen. When we returned to the office, we did some work documenting our plans for alterations to the toilet since Rajeshbhai will be working to secure a new contractor to do that work.

We noticed it was quite warm in the office. We asked if we could turn on the A/C but were told that the power supplying the A/C was out. We toughed out the heat, finished the document, and headed out for what we thought was a trip to Dolatpura to collect information regarding water which will help us move forward with toilets validation.

We were told Rajeshbhai and Salmaben would be accompanying us, but we split up into two cars. My car (with Nisha, Sarah, and Natalia) was confused when we drove past the street where Dolatpura is located. Our driver said he had gotten a call telling him to follow the other vehicle. We made a pretty frantic, confused phone call and were told that we were instead on our way to ice cream and that we’d complete our work in Dolatpura afterwards.

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The place we went for ice cream was a hotel along the highway. They had a pretty wide selection of flavors, but 3 members of our team, Rajeshbhai, and both drivers opted for the mango masti flavor. None of us were disappointed. After this detour, we made our way to Dolatpura, and found that there’s a pretty accessible well that will enable us to do water sampling/testing for toilets validation.

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We headed back to the guest house, where we began packing for our long weekend in Mumbai. When we sat down to watch TV in the living room, the door opened and in walked Harishbhai, our old caretaker from past trips who had been gone visiting family up until now. It was so nice to see a familiar face. We wrapped up the night with some delicious food that was sent over by Salmaben before going to bed for the night. I am excited to be visiting Mumbai for the first time tomorrow with such an amazing group of people!

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