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Blog 2013 Days 13-14: Bangkok (Last 2013 trip post)
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 01:50

After traveling for half a day, our trip came to a close with a day and a half to tour Bangkok. On the first day we started with a buffet at Molly Malone's Irish pub, for a change of pace. We then visited JJ Market: acres of open-air retail and wholesale open only on weekends. In the evening, it was off to the luxurious Health Land Spa for traditional 2-hour Thai massage (at only $15 each), courtesy of Doc and a kind lady we met in the Tokyo airport named Betsy. Thanks!

On the second day we visited the major historical attractions: Royal Palace, the Emerald Buddha, and the Reclining Buddha. We then had some time to relax, and enjoyed a 5-star dinner cruise on the river as a capstone to the journey.

This has been a great year and a great trip.Thank you to all of our supporters that made this work possible. This is our last post for this academic year, but stay tuned for next year!

 

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Blog 2013 Day 12: The Workshop!
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 01:46

(Sorry for the delay for these last two posts - we are on the way home now, posting from our layover in Tokyo.)

 

This was the culmination of our time in Bo Klua: a full-day workshop with 30 leaders from 7 villages.

The day started off wth no power. We tried using just hand tools for a while, including a hand-crank drill, but the SDRF had a generator! We were then back in action to prepare parts for planters.

We split the attendees into 4 groups, with one visiting the water team at a time, and the rest building planters. After the first hour or so, It was gratifying to see very little direct Drexel involvement in making the planters. That means we had successfully empowered people by training the trainers and by making people with little experience comfortable enough to try on their own.

We encountered another challenge when Krissy's Apple laptop refused to start, so we couldn't do the critical work on the water and planter manuals. Kevin came to the rescue, repairing it to the health needed with only the tools at hand.

We said long goodbyes to our new and old friends, and closed the day with an adaptation of the traditional string-tying ceremony. We shared words of encouragement, reflection, or blessing, and tied a simple white string on each others' wrists. It was a great way to celebrate what we've accomplished, as well as our own growth.

The planter design is not yet ready for production, but we hope that the SDRF and farmers are now able to perfect it themselves. Farmers demonstrated their interest in and appreciation for the water filter project by asking if they could have one in their village as well. That has helped to cement our path of gathering additional data from the SDRF pilot filter and having a future senior design team optimize it.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 02:00
 
Blog 2013 Day 11: Manufacturing and Diplomacy
Friday, 28 June 2013 19:17

Today we prepared 11 planters for tomorrow's workshop of 30+ leaders and famers. It required working into the night, or least until 9PM when the kids go to bed. Unable to find cutting fluid in the region, we used a recipe that one of Doc's freshman design teams had developed last year [LINK]: a mixture of vegetable oil and nail polish remover (acetone).

Meanwhile, the water team nearly finished the water quality lab and manual. We hope it will prove useful not just here, but for anyone doing water quality testing in this context.

We were visited early in the day by the equivalent of a city mayor and county mayor. Doc, Kru Chan, and Jenny then visited two major federal projects in the area, who again expressed interest in partnering to further develop and then distribute the planter and filter. They confirmed the selection of the fully-featured planter, and really wanted to see it work to its full potential.

This is our last night camping at the center. We tried to block the 3 pet dogs from the area last night, but they snuck in anyway. As wild animals go, we suppose overly friendly dogs are OK.

 

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Blog 2013 Day 10: The Home Stretch
Thursday, 27 June 2013 20:23

This is the first of TWO days left before our workshop for 30+ people! Being in the home stretch is motivating, but a bit stressful.

The water team finished the pilot filter installation, complete with automatic fill shutoff. They also worked hard to capture the raw material for a water quality testing manual and training videos, complete with Thai voiceover.

The planter team made one last design push, pursuing FOUR variations on the planting tool. Our original plan was for a device that stores, meters, drills, and drops all in one. Getting simpler from there we also prototyped devices that only drop seeds (actuated by arm or stabbing the ground) or a VERY simple pipe with a soda bottle funnel on it. With Kru Chan's input, we settled on the most complex but most capable one. The simpler ones can still be pursued if others want to do so though; they may all have a place in this market.

We were also glad to naturally engage with the boarding school kids here. Onward!

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 21:32
 
Blog 2013 Day 9: Rest and Adventure
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 23:17

This was a unique and excellent day of rest and adventure. We explored local treats, including salt from their ancient well (for fundraising!) and locally made whiskey. Then we hiked to beautiful waterfalls and jumped right in. That night we had a 5-star banquet dinner, complete with Thai pesto, pork shoulder, tempura with home-made plum sauce, and more.

Jeanne and Dave led us in a new tradition: paper lanterns. These are used often in the buddhist and and hindu faiths in the region, so to honor that culture we stated our own thanks and hopes, and let the lights represent them. It was a moving experience.

This day lends itself to many photos, so here are 14! Again, please click on one to open the gallery with captions (if on FeedBurner, click first on the post title at the top to view it on the website).

 

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