It’s All A Blur

It was our last night before our final presentation to the community in Zuarinagar and I was in serious need of a caffeine boost. Our team – the infrastructure group – had been up the previous night preparing for a land use proposal to present to the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to try and get permissions to build a waste management system for industry owned land in the community. After the meeting with GIDC we spent the remaining hours of the day running around the city for supplies to get a prototype prepared for the next days presentation.

So, droopy eyed and slightly crabby from yesterdays events, we started our last day of the program at 12:00 AM sharp. Our presentation to the community was a continuation of what we pitched to GIDC – a solution for a waste management system to be implemented in and by local residents. We had proposed a permanent and temporary storage and organization system for which we needed to prototype one piece of the overall system. Luckily, right next door we had a metal smith to help start us off! The rest of the night went by quickly – we were covered in dirt, sweat and calluses from sawing and tying rough ropes all night. By around 7:00 AM we were done with the prototype and entirely out of it. The rest of the class were starting to wake up and get ready to meet the community – our group was told to stay behind and rejoin the others after getting some rest. To be truthful – it was all a blur from that point!



After a quick swim, nap and doing final repairs to the prototype (it had accidentally been damaged by the resident dog) we headed out to Zuarinagar. The three groups presented their final designs to the crowd that came to attend the meeting – we had a positive and enthusiastic response to our proposals. Following the Q&A we all went to watch the Rangoli winner from yesterday demonstrate her rice flour designs and see the newly built bridge the Behavioural Change group had made for the kids. As we started to head back to the guesthouse we were given a loud and warm send off by all the local kids we had worked with for the three weeks.


Back at the base we were caught between having nothing more to work on and still feeling like there was something left to happen. And despite our group being up for the last two nights our need for shuteye vanished – or at least got sidelined by the prospects of visiting the beaches in Goa again. It was our last chance to eat the amazing banana fritters from Johncy’s – the best seafood restaurant on Benaulim Beach.


“Magic Bus, Magic Bus!!”

I woke up with that Friday Feeling, the one that always catches you by surprise after a long week and gives you that extra push to roll out of bed because finally – finally – it’s almost the weekend. Breakfast was a slow start; the early birds in our group weren’t occupying their usual tables and the only noises that morning were coming from our cooks in the kitchen, even the dogs who like to attack us on sight were calmer than usual. Which meant my handful of slobber was downgraded to a head-butt in the knee. I decided to eat my breakfast, some spongy idli with sambar and coconut chutney, by the pool before the days activities began.

Once everyone made it outside – and faking awake – Sarah broke down our schedules for the day. After splitting into our teams the morning would be spent on defining our overriding design direction based on the feedback we received from the previous days presentations and visits. The second half of the morning would be spent on prepping for whatever activities or survey questions we would need for our afternoon visit to Zuarinagar. For my group this meant we had to finalize the pilot session with Magic Bus and the kids from the community. Most of our questions and games were already decided on but we were concerned with the possibility of kids not engaging enough with what we had planned – whatever insights we brought back from this pilot session would decide our design direction for the rest of the program. Which meant the weekend vibes would have to wait for just a bit longer. We spent the rest of our time fine-tuning questions and making our activities more interactive to break the ice as quickly as we could in the short amount of time we had for the session. After a quick dip in the pool to cool off and a bite to eat we all headed out for the community visit.


We pulled up to our regular parking space and as soon as we stepped off our blue bus there was a group of children yelling out “Magic Bus! Magic Bus!” and waving us along to follow them to their playground across the road. We were expecting ten kids – there were at least four times that. It turned out we didn’t need to do much prepping at all. The kids started to hold our hands and ask us what games we were going to play and began to tell us how much they already knew about waste management. One of the younger girls was even swinging around a pair of nail clippers tied to a string. They were ready. The first half hour – true to Indian timing – was spent trying to find a spot to begin. We bounced from place to place until we found a small mandir to use as our home base. The next two hours was loud, erratic and went as smoothly as trying to control forty amped up kids in a small room goes. We managed to get the answers we needed but not expecting the kids to exhaust us as much as they did, combined with it being Friday…we unanimously (and non-verbally) decided to analyze our findings after the weekend. Besides – it was Bollywood Night!

Raksha – our tried and tested dancing instructor for the past two Design Abroad programs – attempted to teach us a dance to a song from a Bollywood movie we watched earlier in the week. Despite Raksha’s best efforts we only made it about a minute into the song and an hour of trying to get there.