Thursday, August 09, 2007

End of Project

The MIT-RF Team, such an amazing group!

I have a lot of posts to catch up on and a lot of amazing pictures to post- but by now we have completed the pilot implementation phase of our project- it's been both challenging, inspirational, and sleep-less but altogether unforgettable. (pictures will be coming soon, but I am right now in Goa with spotty internet)

After putting in the trashbins in the community we saw a dramatic decline in the amount of trash floating down the waterways and even more importantly, a huge change in the sanitation habits of the community people. In the beginning, we were told that the hardest thing we would have to deal with was changing people's habits and making them believe that change with their own beliefs and their neighbors beliefs were possible. However, they took to using the trashbins almost immediately and it was certaintly rewarding to see a whole community take part in a cause. The implementation of the bins was not without speed bumps (or "rumblers" as Goans call them). For the first few days a governmental sanitation stakeholder fell through on a lot of his promises and left us without a regular dependable trash worker- an integral part of our project. Through the chaos and suprises, our implementation leader (Dharani) definetly came through, often calling the MCD (sanitation council) 20-25 times a day to get a worker.
Getting the trash bins delivered to the project site via thrilling bicycle rickshaw ride.
Bringing the trash bins in to the community.
Postering about how to properly use the trash bins.

The most memorable moment of the entire trip was the community slidshow that Julie and Yamilee worked on. We held it in the marketplace at night and over 200 adults and children came out of their homes to watch. It was truly touching and afterwards the entire community was thanking us enthusiastically and all the little kids wanted to shake our hands. The slideshow had lots of the community's photos so it was more a thank-you gift to them for supporting us in the project. :)

Dharani and I walk around the community at night to raise awareness about our slide show and encourage everyone to come watch. The slum was transformed at night into a bustling, homey area with dinner cooking in many households and families all sitting together.

About 200 people, a good amount of the community, come to watch our slide show! They whistled, clapped, and cheered at how much the community has changed from the project- it was truly a magical night!

So we leave the project as it is now, with some rocky spots that need to ironed out about community payment for the trash bins and workers (we firmly believe the community needs to be invested), but we have huge hope in our YWCA and Community Committee to organize the community around the cause and keep it sustainable.

Good bye Delhi- it's been amazing!

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