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Day 3: Swagat (Welcome)

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

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 our toilet partner, Chatrasinhbhai.

Sumitraben asked if I have learned how to perform American or Gujarati dance. I reiterated to her that when I do “break down,” I look like a fish out of water. She showed us the new stove she built, asked how everyone was back home, and sat down with Keny and Div for some questions. Meanwhile, Rajeshbhai and I met with our toilet partner to investigate the toilet and follow up on the May trip repairs. As an experienced traveler, it’s amazing to see members who have never traveled interact with someone as great as Sumitraben. As a result of that experience, they were able to the importance she holds, and passion she has for the stoves project.

Afterwards, we went back to the office and sat down with the foundation team to go over our plan and objectives for the week. We also briefly went over the mind map to expand the stoves technology to different communities. At the end of the day, we were graciously invited to dinner with Salmaben and Rajeshbhai. After reminiscing about the fun times we had in May and eating some awesome food, we headed back to the guesthouse with the mantra to do work until we pass out. We made it a solid hour. Tomorrow, we plan on going back to Barola to introduce Keny and Div to the community, and scheduling interviews for the remainder of the week. Happy holidays to everyone, Kabir signing off *star trek beam up noise*.

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