Sunday, July 17, 2011

Experiment Set-up: Getting our Hands Dirty

There is no time for sleeping in when you’re out in the field: Kate, Vaish and I were at the COCO 7:45 am. After surveying land behind the building, and mentally deciding where we wanted to set up the evaporation pond and the garden, we get to work on clearly the vegetation and trash. We are still waiting to hear back from our plant guy in Jhunjhunu, so after we get the land cleared we get to work on the evaporation pond.

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

While working, Bula brought us piping hot chai tea to take a break and “cool” off from the work. It was (and always is) quite tasty, but it didn’t exactly do much to help cool us off. During this chai break, we asked Shiv Ratan and Bula not to throw trash out behind the building anymore. They agreed, and then Bula immediately took our empty plastic chai cups and threw them over the wall separating the property from the road. Even though Vaishnavi’s Hindi is getting better each day, I think something got lost in the translation of our request.

With some help from Shiv Ratan (the operator of the COCO) we are able to dig out a ~4 inch deep pit that is 5 feet by 9 feet in size. Conveniently, it was time for him to run the RO machine to produce drinking water, which meant we were able to collect some brine for our evaporation pit. After fixing some some holes in the plastics and filling up a 21 liter jug 5 times (Vaish and Kate have some serious upper body strength!) our pit was ready. We took some key measurements- including the depth of the water and the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) level. We also had a bit of luck and found some algae in the RO brine, which we saved to use in a different experiment.

After these tasks, it was now 10 am and starting to get quite steamy out, so we decided to take a break (and showers!) back in our rooms and then go back to our office in the afternoon. Around 3:30 pm we got a call from Kuldeep, who we had met in the Jaipur office. He was in Bakhtawarpura, a town which was a 15 rupee bus ride (~30 cents) up the road from Bagar, and offered to show us around. He led us to his family’s “town” house where we met his grandma, uncle, and aunt and drank chai tea. His family seemed very friendly, but his grandma only spoke the local language. So at any given point in the conversation, there were 2 sets of translations going on: Vaish to Kate and I and Kuldeep to his Grandma. We were then taken on a tour where we saw an ornately painted house that was over 250 years old.

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

We were then taken to a temple that was dedicated to Krishna. We went inside and all three of us walked around the altar three times- we had to be careful not to get in the way of another woman, who seemed to be deep in mediation (walking the same path several times is a form of mediation).

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

We also noticed some awesome solar powered street lamps!

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

We met with the local Sarpanch (essentially a mayor) who helped Bakhtawarpura win multiple awards for the village’s cleanliness and its water system. Kuldeep is standing next to me and the Sarpanch is in the middle.

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

We then walked a “kilometer” out to Kuldeep’s family farm (it was not a great day for us to wear sandals). Along with taking in the beautiful scenery, we also met his father, who was working on the family’s small dairy. One of their cows was only born with 3 legs, but he seems to be doing just fine.

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

After the dairy we went to see his family’s "farm" house; where we meet his mother, his two sisters, and his brother. His sister made us the most delicious chai tea we’ve had yet- which was made from milk from their dairy! After tea, we went out to inspect the farm’s irrigation system, but were distracted by a bunch of baby goats! They were so adorable and wanted to jump around everywhere! One was a little boy goat, who was quite frisky. Upon noticing that Kate was excited to see the baby goats, Kuldeep’s mother picked the frisky one and practically threw it at Kate for her to hold!

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

After inspecting the irrigation system, which uses water from a well and pipes it down-hill to the sprinklers with a 20 foot radius, we went over to a neighbor’s house to ask to have some pepper plants for our garden. They were very happy to help us and even tried to give us other food as well. As an added bonus, I got to get my picture taken with their camel!

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

On the long walk back to the bus stop, we also stopped and picked up an aloe vera plant from Kuldeep’s field. He walked us back to the bus stop and waited until we got on. After the crowded bus ride back to Bagar and a late dinner, it was finally time for some much needed sleep!

From Sarvajal- Bagar, Week 1

2 comments:

  1. These pictures are real winners! You ladies look to be hard at work!

    ReplyDelete