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February 19, 2018

A-suhhh everyone, Div here, reporting on what happened December 30, 2017!

So I think I’ve gotten used to showering with approximately 3 minutes of hot water, and then 8 minutes of lukewarm-cold water – just as this trip winds down. I am thriving. Breakfast was amazing – as usual, and the car ride was long – as usual.

After finishing up some office work, we headed out to Medapur and Jetpur, two communities that we have expanded our stove design into. 

There, I got the opportunity to talk with some of the stove builders in the community, and ask them questions about our stove design. It was amazing seeing these women feel so passionate about the work they are doing, and they had a lot of input and ideas for the expansion of our project.

Having spent a couple hours in the field, we went back to the office for lunch. Man, I could get used to eating Indian food, there’s nothing quite like it. After an enormous lunch, we sat down with the entire R&D team and their new head to expl...

February 19, 2018

Hello everyone, Keny here again! We started out the morning with Harishbhai’s lovely breakfast. After breakfast, we were on our way to the office for an exciting day: Urja was going to be in town!

Upon arrival at the office, we prepared a Mid Trip Update presentation to share with Urja. At around 11:30 AM, we met with her and a few Setco team members to discuss the team’s progress thus far. We were fortunate to receive positive feedback from Urja and the team. With that said,overall we had a very productive meeting.

After the meeting, we had lunch planned with Urja, Rajeshbhai, and Gayatriben at the Setco canteen. Rajeshbhai was very kind enough to share his own mango rus, a cold dish made from mango pulp. Even though I served myself a second time, Rajeshbhai continued to insist that I take more even though my stomach could not handle it.

After a very fulfilling lunch, the team was very excited to go to Nishal Faliya in Barola to document the path that the women take to obtain their...

February 19, 2018

Hi-lo world it’s Kabir back at it reporting what happened the 28thof December. The day started off with the coveted cup of chai and some stellar Maggi noodles that we completely demolished. As soon as we arrived at the office, we sat down with Vidhi and Parth (individuals from Setco R&D that we work with) and updated them on the conversations we had in Mota Faliya. We briefly went over how to expand to 1000 stoves and incorporate design changes the user requires to divert smoke outside of their kitchen.

We quickly grabbed lunch after the conversation and headed off to Barola for three scheduled interviews in Nishal faliya. While Keny and Devna (a new face on the Setco team who studied communication) interviewed the women on shaded porches, Rajeshbhai, Div, and I interviewed the men inquiring about daily water consumption outside. To Rajeshbhai, the weather was “cold,” thus he was wearing a vest and long sleeve shirt in 87 degree weather. Meanwhile Div and I were sweating profusely clin...

February 19, 2018

Hey everyone Keny here!  We apologize that we were unable to upload a blog for the 26th; we had a super jam packed day consisting of building a chula (stove) with Sumitraben and conducting interviews.

I’m sure you were waiting for the Gujarati word of the day, which we decided should be gaam (village) because that was the day that I visited a village for the first time.

Upon arrival, at the office we planned our entire day before we were on our way visit to the community of Barola for the first time.

Visiting Barola was particularly exciting as it was Div and I’s first time interacting with Barola’s community members. We both had the opportunity to brush up on our Gujarati as we set up times to interview with women of potential partner families.

Once we left the community, we headed back to the office for a delicious traditional Gujarati lunch with the Setco team. After lunch, we met with a few Setco members to discuss the plan for the 1000 stoves expansion by 2018, which wa...

February 19, 2018

Hey everyone it’s Kabir! I know what you’re thinking, “Ugh this kid again for the third trip in a row”, and you’re exactly right. This trip I am fortunate enough to travel with our business co-lead Keny, and our stoves co-lead Divyansh (Div).  Thankfully they both speak Hindi and Gujarati fluently, so I can skrt by the seat of my pants with my horrifically broken Hindi (check out our previous blog from May: F is for Friends who do stuff together for more context).

Today was extremely exciting, as we were introduced to the Setco foundation. I was used to seeing Salmaben, Rajeshbhai, and Gayatriben but this time there were several new faces that joined the team since May. More so, this was Keny and Div’s first time meeting and associating faces to the renowned Setco representatives that we have worked with over the past several years. After introductions, chai, and coffee, we headed to Dolatpura. We were greeted with warm welcomes from our partner stove builder, Sumitraben, and...

February 19, 2018

Hi everyone, Divyansh here, the Stoves Project Co-Lead! After a long and arduous journey, we finally made it to Baroda last night. Extremely jet-lagged, we woke up super early today and were treated with hot chai, coffee, and a plethora of snacks to make up for the weight lost during travel. We also got to meet Keny’s aunt and uncle, Mr. Dilip Shah and Mrs. Krupa Shah, as well as her cousins. They stopped by all the way from Ahemdabad (a 2 hour drive) just to see their beloved niece for a few minutes, talk about dedication!

We decided to trek outside this afternoon

in search for an SD card, some playing cards, and a good book to pass some time. Note for future travelers: do not buy playing cards from Crossword, they’re absurdly overpriced and you will pay an arm, leg, and perhaps a kidney. After a successful trip, we were treated to a delicious lunch, courtesy of Harishbhai (the man, the myth, the legend) who fed us wholeheartedly.

think I’ve already put on 6 pounds, everything is fi...

February 19, 2018

Hey everyone, it’s Keny! I’m the business co-lead for BLIP. After many delays and almost missing our flight, we decided to call the Gujarati word of the day Dhiraj, which means patience.

We got up at the crack of dawn (4:00 AM) to get ready to leave for the airport at 5 AM (shoutout to Sai for driving us to the airport and getting us there on time). Once we got to JFK, that is when our true patience was tested.

We looked at the departure screen and realized that the flight was delayed for 2 hours. So naturally we panicked because we would literally have less than 30 minutes until the flight from Ahmedabad to Abu Dhabi takes off. Luckily, we realized that there was nothing that was in our control, so we decided to sit patiently and basically eat all the free snacks that the Etihad employees were giving out.

Boarding the plane took a good hour, and we ended up taking off at 5:30 compared to 4:10. Nevertheless, this was great bonding time for us and I was actually surprised by the fact...

May 30, 2017

Hi all, Nisha writing for the last time this May! We had decided to take the day off…so naturally we had planned several hours of meetings in the evening. We were able to sleep in an, started the day off right with eggs and toast. To continue our leisurely morning, we decided to go to the InOrbit mall to do some shopping. As were about to leave the guesthouse, I got a call from Rajeshbhai who invited us to lunch. We met with him and were treated to a decadent traditional Gujarati meal!

After lunch, we went to Fab India to complete our shopping trip and headed back to the guesthouse. We spent the next hour relaxing, drinking chai, and getting ready for the evening’s meetings.

Upon arriving to the office, we were able to take a much-anticipated tour of Lavacast and learn about the structure of their production line! We headed to Barola next for our community meeting. The panchayat member, Tinabhai, had assembled some community members to learn more about BLUElab and the Setco Foundation. W...

May 29, 2017

Hi all, Natalia here. Today we woke up bright and early to a steaming hot bowl of Maggi noodles. We piled into the car around 8am. During the ride, with no time to waste, we set about preparing for our end-of-trip presentation that morning for the Setco Foundation and R&D team.

At the office, we put the finishing touches on the PowerPoint and were super hyped for the meeting. As soon as everyone was ready, we filed into the conference room with Rajeshbhai, Salmaben, Elsa, Vidhi, and Parth, and presented our progress on the stoves and toilets projects, the process we’ve been using for needs filtering, and our plan for communicating with Setco and with our partner community after the trip. Our presentation was generally well-received, and it was nice to have the chance to talk about the work we’ve completed this month as well as where the team is headed from here.

We then took a break for lunch, which included a yoghurt-y desert called shrikund. I’ve definitely mentioned this desert before...

May 28, 2017

Hey all, Nisha here! We started the day off right, rested and with omelets chock full of onions and peppers, buttered toast, and my daily cup of cold milk. On our way to the office, Kabir squeezed into the back of the car so we could all talk and work during the car ride. Upon arriving, we divided up an extensive list of things to do amongst ourselves as we prepared for our morning meetings.

We sat down with Salmaben and Rajeshbhai to discuss the results of our preliminary needs filtering process (in which we narrowed down the list of potential needs our team could address in our next project). We answered questions and provided more explanations behind the few needs that we had filtered down to from our original list of nearly 30 needs. Next, we moved into discussing or communication plan for this upcoming semester. We proposed a detailed outline of how we would stay in close contact with Setco and Barola during our Fall semester and were excited by their positive response to the plan.


May 27, 2017

cout << “Hello World, it’s Kabir”;

Breakfast, chai, the whole shebang. We told Sabirbhai to come pick us up at 8:30 so relative to the 7:45’s we have been telling him for the past several days, we were able to “sleep in”. As soon as we got to the office the guard stopped our car and asked if there was a “Sarah Rogers”. What we didn’t put together was that the previous day we had ordered for a representative to collect a water sample with us in Dolatpura for toilets validation and had given them Sarah’s contact information. The water testers were 30 minutes early and we started scrambling to get Sarah and Natalia ready for the day ahead of them.

From there on it was smooth sailing. Sarah and Natalia were able to go and collect the water sample with Vidhi by their side and record the whole process for the future. For Nisha and me, it could have gone far better… We had planned to go with Salmaben to meet with Barola’s Sarpanch (head of local government). We had already met with the Panch...

May 26, 2017

Hi all, Sarah here! Busy day today, so bear with me. We rushed ourselves out of the guesthouse early, to arrive to the office before a scheduled meeting with Salmaben. We arrived just in time to have a nice cup of chai, then had a very productive talk about our plans for the rest of the trip. Afterwards, we collected our things, picked up Parth from the R&D department, and headed to Dolatpura to meet the contractor making changes to the toilet.

On arrival, we were pleased to find that the soak pit we designed to address the runoff of washwater from the toilet was mostly completed! The only thing missing was the sand-gravel filter to protect the ground water. The contractor then showed us the custom lids Setco made to cover the openings of the cover material chutes. After a couple slight adjustments, we were satisfied that the covers would fit well. We noted that the air outlets for the composting bins had not been changed yet, but were assured that they would be fixed by the next day.


May 25, 2017

Hi all, Natalia here! Our morning began with a kind of spicy pancake, mangoes, and obviously chai. We headed to the office bright and early, knowing it was going to be a busy day. After catching up on our blog posts and other, more serious, forms of documentation, we headed to Barola, accompanied by Rajeshbhai, for another round of one-on-one interviews.

We began our interviews in Motu faliya. Nisha, Sarah, and I talked to Kusumben and her family, including her two adorable toddler grandsons. They shared a lot of detailed information regarding their water management and agricultural practices. Meanwhile, Kabir met a fellow by the name of Jadeep Singh Jaswat Singh Rator, and picked up some interesting notes on the difficulties of farming millet. Before leaving the faliya, we located the house of Sangeetaben – who was at our focus group discussion and had asked to talk to us – and set up a time for an interview.

Relocating to Nishal faliya, we separated into two groups again. While Kabir a...

May 24, 2017

Hey y’all, Nisha here! My first day back from Ahmedabad started off on the right foot with a cup of cold milk and, as expected, omelets and toast. After arriving to the office, we prepared for our first day of targeted interviews during which we would interview community members in Barola that we had already met in order to get more detailed information regarding points that they had brought up earlier. We planned to go to Barola to ask two women that we had already interviewed, Ramilaben and Rekhaben, when they would be available later that day to meet with us.

We met up with Salmaben who was planning on heading to the field with us. Upon arriving in Barola, Namrataben helped us track down where Rekhaben lived in Motu falia. Sarah and Natalia stayed with Salmaben to conduct the interview while Namrataben guided Kabir and me to Nishal faliya. We were disheartened at first to find that Ramilaben was not home. As we contemplated what our next move would be, we heard Ramilaben call to us f...

May 23, 2017

Hi all, Sarah here. Day 20 started off with the normal hubbub of breakfast, malaria pill reminders, material gathering, and chai; but instead of going to the office, the plan was to find a wifi source to skype our US team. So we all piled into the car (sans Natalia whose stomach had been acting up) expecting our ever reliant driver Sabirbhai to know where he was going. We soon realized that somewhere in the planning process, it didn’t get communicated that we weren’t going to the office, nor did Sabirbhai expect there to be any wifi cafes open at 9am on a Saturday. Nonetheless, we checked 3 wifi cafes (all closed), a hotel (only has wifi for guests), McDonalds & KFC (also both closed), and finally decided that it was a lost cause & settled on a conference call in the guesthouse instead. It was great to hear some familiar voices on the call. It took much longer than expected to figure out the importance of values we created to help us filter needs statements for potential team projects....

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