Today began with everyone meeting in the living room for some very early morning presentations. We had all spent a long time the night before analysing the user and stakeholder interviews, and understandably this morning people were still wiping the sleep out of their eyes. I was one of those sleepy faces actually, but in my defence, my cherished OCAD earplugs vanished the night before. They will be missed dearly.
The presentations went very well, and both groups gained a lot of good insight from each other. For me, this is the first opportunity I have had to do multiple in depth interviews, and it’s really fascinating how much you can learn. I’ll admit, not being leading when asking questions is not my strong suit. I’m just too friendly to coldly ask about people’s habits, but I’ll improve.
We spent the rest of the day in the café doing more research into materials. It seems that we have zeroed in on using textile from industrial sized rice bags that are left over at the grocery store itself. The material is great, it’s durable, can be cut to large sheets, and is widely available from many businesses and factories right here in Goa. After researching for a few hours I took an obligatory swim in the pool, and I’m beginning to think that it is probably the one amenity that our school should invest in next. Student union reps, if you are reading this you know what will get my vote!
In the evening we all gathered for the typical dinner of rice, curries, and roti. I discovered today that you can get room service for things like CocaCola during dinner; this is a slippery slope. Over dinner we discussed a reading concerning whether humanitarian design is the new colonialism. Clearly, this is a tricky subject. There are many cases of designers doing harm to developing nations with poorly thought out projects; for example harming local economies by flooding them with donated goods. However, over the past week it is becoming clear to me that we are serving more the role of enthusiastic connectors between different organizations, people, and resources. Hopefully our projects will create sustainable opportunities after we’ve left, and I feel confident that overall we are doing good.
Back on the subject of our project, we hit another major milestone this evening! We bought tape, scissors, and paper! The time has come to start prototyping and sketching, and it feels good. You can see Maddy and Genevieve hard at work in the photo below. This was taken in make shift office #2, this time on the second. It’s crazy to think that by this time next week these paper models will be polished designs with a presentation, instruction manual, and implementation plan (o lord that is daunting to say out loud), but I know we will pull it off!