Hey everyone, it’s Colby, this year’s Trip Lead! We very excitedly started off our first day in the Setco office with yummy omelets made by our lovely caretaker Sanjay. Once we had eaten we headed to the office to meet with the Setco employees for the first time (reminiscent of when the Stamford and Scranton employees first met…?) It was really nice to finally meet so many of the Setco employees for the first time in person! We left in the morning to with Salmaben and Rajeshbai and headed into the communities for the first time.
We first went into Barola where we met with community members and local leadership, including two of our partners, Kusumben and Divyaben. It was great to finally meet her in person and schedule a more formal meeting tomorrow to talk about our progress.
We then headed to Dolatpura to meet with Sumitraben for the first time during this trip. Sumitraben and her two daughters welcomed us into her beautiful home where we immediately spotted her adorable grandson, Vivek. He did not seem as happy to see us (we were Michael Scott and he was a Stamford employee in this scenario) but we loved looking at his cute, chubby cheeks and adorable face! After having countless discussions online with her, it was great being able to interact with Sumitraben and checking in with her on her work as an excellent stove builder in Dolatpura. One of her daughters even asked us if we would like her to do henna on us to which we said absolutely!
Once we left the communities we headed back to the office to do some work and then eat lunch. Rajeshbai graciously came and ate lunch with us and although we weren’t “Sittin’ in my office with a plate of grilled bacon” like Michael Scott in the Scranton: The Electric City video, we were sitting in the office eating some delicious toover and puri!
We were able to start our afternoon with a great meeting with Vidhi, a Setco R&D employee with whom we work closely on the stoves project and planned for our future work during this trip. We finished up our work during the rest of the afternoon and, in all, had a very productive first day.
Before we went home to finish our day and eat dinner, we stopped by Crossword, a local bookstore, in order to buy a few reading books and get Keny a much needed notebook. We headed back to the guesthouse after that and finished up work before heading to bed, regardless of the massive celebration happening outside of our windows. Fireworks outside were an interesting sound as we fell asleep!