Ciao, Kabir here. Our last day in Mumbai started off the right way! I wrapped myself in a comforter, yelled “I’m the Batman” and woke everyone up. After getting ready we headed down to breakfast where we had a lovely South Indian breakfast filled with sambar, idli’s, dosa, and for some reason gulab jamen, which we devoured. Due to the limited amount of time we had left before our train ride we decided to continue shopping for the rest of the day.
We went to three malls. The first of which was closed, the second had two stores, and the third: where plenty of similar shops that sold fake Rolex’s. Because we were all born and raised in the United States, we had lunch at McDonald’s for a second time this trip.
We then headed to a coffee joint across the street to meet up with Abhi, a BLUElab member’s former roommate’s cousin….so basically family. Abhi did a great job showing us around Mumbai our first day and we wanted to say our goodbyes. He bought Sarah a slice of cake, which I happily ate, to celebrate her upcoming birthday.
He traveled with us to the train station where he guided us to our coach and seats. We owe him a great debt because without his understanding of the train system and adept ability to speak Hindi, we would have been panicking like headless chickens and missed our train.
Now this is where the predicament comes in. So when we first booked our train tickets, apparently we were all on the wait-list. Now what this means is that even if you book as a group you will all get in the same carriage, but not necessarily have seats next to each other. Thankfully four of us were all in seats 9 through 12 but for some odd reason Rachel was placed in seat 65. So me being the chivalrous gentleman that I am, forced the girls to sit together and went to sit myself. I mean who wants to mess with a Wookie? Nisha and Sarah initially checked up on me and told me not eat the train food. Obviously I then ate the train food. What a time to be alive. After arriving to Baroda, Sabirbhai picked us up, and took us to the guesthouse where we had some Maggi and chai. We conked out afterwards only to await starting the needs assessment the next day. Take it away Nisha.
Thanks Kabir…hey everyone, Nisha here! As per every day that I’ve written, we started our first morning back in Barola with a large plate of omelettes and buttered toast. Our anticipation of the busy day in front of us coupled with our exhaustion from yesterday’s journey resulted in a sleepy car ride to work. We arrived to a mostly empty office, finding that since it was a Tuesday, a day off for most employees, it would be a quiet day.
We quickly learned that the several meetings in Barola that we had planned for would have to be postponed until tomorrow, causing a fairly dramatic change of our plans. So we decided to divide our efforts, as Kabir, Natalia, and I went to Dolatpura to meet with a new Setco contractor that would be helping us with our toilet’s updates, while Sarah and Rachel stayed back in the office to continue working. We were pleasantly surprised by how efficiently the meeting went and are excited to see the construction start in the next two days.
After returning to the office, Kabir and I began meticulously planning out our meetings for tomorrow while Sarah, Rachel, and Natalia worked to generate a list of potential labs that could conduct water tests for us. We got a welcome break in our morning when Elsa, an employee of the foundation, brought us some refreshing juice boxes, which proceeded to finished within the next few minutes.
Our afternoon consisted of calling the water testing labs, as Kabir and I took turns asking questions to clarify their testing methods. After being put on hold, transferred back and forth between departments, and even having someone beg me to stop asking so many questions, we finally narrowed down our list to a promising lab.
Due to the change of schedule, we were able to leave the office early, and took advantage of the extra time we had to relax. We finalized our protocols for the various meetings we anticipate having tomorrow, with most of us calling it an early night.