With a quick change of plans to the project that came Monday, each new group began to prepare for our community visit on Wednesday. The teams divided into the infrastructure group, behaviour change and children’s play and education. Each group was working away at how we would implement and plan within the final two days. Organizing of materials, meetings, conversations and presentations had to be done. It was decided that in terms of accessing the community we would have one visit tomorrow to have an interaction with the community and one final presentation day of of the sustainability plan on Friday. During the day most of us were found crouched in front of our laptops, our notebooks or having group discussions. We felt like we were back at OCAD for a moment doing work until the smell of Hussein’s cooking and brought us back to where we were.
This day became a learning activity in and of itself. All of our insights had to be presented analogue, a presentation style many of us hadn’t experienced since elementary school. We worked away until the late afternoon on how best to approach and development visual graphics that could be translatable and easily digested.
As we wrapped up the presentations a few of us decided to take a rickshaw into Maragau, seeing as this might be the last opportunity to gather materials and to wander around Newmarket for the last time. The rickshaw whisked us away under the midday heat to the city. First stop: Fabindia, to see what what was so fab about it. Turns out it is the Indian version of Anthropology. We soaked up the air conditioned atmosphere, admired some beautifully patterned kurtas and compared futon prices and then off we were to Newmarket. Our rickshaw driver led us to where he said we would find the best spices, despite the fact that we were already quite familiar with this area. With some saffron in our pockets, we wandered a little more, only to discover that every exit looked the same and there were minimal opportunities to reorientate ourselves. Exiting Newmarket, we decided on a quick stop at the ice cream shop that had the unique Indian flavours we had enjoyed before. The cool fig and mango icecream is always the perfect treat. Arriving back at the guesthouse we had the groups favourite “Indian” meal waiting for us: Chinese food!
As an extension from yesterday meeting with the Kundalini Clinic and their work for Zuarinagar, today’s goal was to meet and familiarize ourselves with the organization Magic Bus. After a breakfast that you can only assume the local Indians grew up with as a child, the potato sandwich, also known as Aloo Masala, gave us a taste of a starchy tradition.
With a short bumpy (a rhythm we have come to know all too well) bus ride we arrived at the Magic Bus offices in Goa. We were greeted by the kind organizers and mentors that run this location and took a seat in a circle where everyone introduced themselves. Our first taste of Indian Chai was offered with biscuits and despite everyone’s sweaty brows we sipped and enjoyed the hot tea while Magic Bus introduced the organization’s objectives and model through a moving video. We were all amazed by the organization’s continuous efforts to implement sport and play as an education tool into the slums of India. The presentation became a discussion of deeply rooted Indian culture and tradition and the hurdles that Magic Bus faces within their placements. A cycle of a lack of initiative and motivation towards education, the polarization of gender roles, the attempts to overcome hierarchical family systems are all hurdles we might face when it comes to research and implementation within the community in our own projects. Magic bus seeks to eradicate these issues and tackle them through 5 core subjects: health, education, gender equity, socio economical development and right to play. Magic Bus, with the help of Arun, his wife Parfu, and Sarah, familiarized us with these topics so when it came to our work we could create more effective and sustainable solutions within the existing systems. After the informative and engaging presentations we heard personal stories from the mentors about their favourite parts about working with children and some struggles they face. We were asked to engage in some of the activities that they do with the children within the communities and with giggles and eagerness we readily accepted. The icebreaker reminded us what it was like to be a kid again, laughing and smiling until our faces hurt the whole time. Even when the games were educational about substance abuse we still were able to engage and understand and gave us a glimpse into the successfulness of Magic Buses educational system. With many thanks and a wealth of knowledge we boarded the bus back to the guesthouse.
Our last objective for the day was to brainstorm our possible design opportunities and finalize the groups that we will be working in for the remainder of our time. After much deliberation and consideration we narrowed it down to two final groups one that will focus on water filtration and the other that will focus on garbage and waste management. With essays to be finished, pool swimming to be had, and sweet syrupy dough desserts to be digested we all settled in for another night.