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Day 24: Y is for Yardstick

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

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.

Then, the moment we were all waiting for – they unsealed the composting bins.

I think we were all surprised when we could barely smell the contents of the toilet bins, and grateful that we would not have to hold our breaths in addition to working in the 107 degree weather. We got right to work on our main task for the day; measuring the depth of the bins (with a makeshift yardstick we measured out ourselves), recording the height and angle of the outhouse, and installing the new temperature and humidity sensors into the bins. It wasn’t long before we realized that we would not be able to put the new sensor chords through the same places the old ones had been. The previous sensors had been installed prior to the completion of the toilet and were therefore forever cemented into the toilet system itself. Being the improvising engineers that we are, we decided the next logical place we could put the sensors was through the cover material pipes and that the data logger could live in the outhouse. This plan went well for the temperature sensors, but we had some difficulty fitting the humidity sensor down the narrow pipes. After several attempts to drop the sensor down, remove blockages in the pipe, and shove it down with a stick, we finally managed to pull it through with a weighted rope. After ensuring everything was functional, we wrapped up talks with the contractor, and returned to the air conditioned office for a brief reprieve before lunch.

Lunch was delicious, as usual. Directly after, we got to work on additional documentation for our team, posting the previous day’s blog, and preparing for our interviews later in the afternoon. Our interviews this afternoon were in Motu faliya with people who we had met through the focus group. During these we gained greater depth of insight into problems previously mentioned by community members. Though we had planned to also go to Nishal faliya, it was getting late so we returned to the office to collect our things.

However, instead of heading straight back to the guesthouse in Barola as we usually do, we went to visit Gayatriben’s home for snacks, which our team and another coworker at the Setco foundation, Elsa, had been invited to the day before. We all had a fun visit, enjoying mumra, papra, mango juice, and making fun of Kabir. Not ones to overstay our welcome, we were soon on our way back to the guesthouse. There, we cleaned up, fit in a quick nap, ate a proper dinner, wrote an impressive number of needs statements, and passed out immediately after turning in for the night.

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