July 08, 2009
Closing in On a Design...
Since I've landed in India, a whole lot has happened - so much for taking it slow and soaking it all in!
First of all, I got in contact with my uncle Subba who gave me the name of one of the school's board member's cousins, who knows a lot about power system designing. After a very helpful convo with this gentleman, Mr. Ram Kumar, I got in contact with a company who distributes and manufacturers solar related systems based out of Bangalore, the city I was staying in. My uncle came the next day, and we met to meet with them, and although it was informative, it was something we probably won't use in the end - the company specializes in bigger systems, and was interested in pursuing government subsidies, which mean a lot of hoop jumping. Also, we would have to include a wind turbine in our design if we wanted government funding, which just isn't something we're interested in pursuing right now. While the meeting wasn't directly helpful to the project, it was a very good way for me to begin to understand the dynamic of a business meeting here, which was MUCH less formal than I was expecting...
Two days later, my uncle and I travelled to Pavagada, the village where we'll be working. After getting introduced to what felt like was upwards of 30,000 people, I went to the school and there I got a tour of the computer lab. We met with Mr. Anand Rao, who is also a board member for the school, and the three of us (Mr. Anand Rao, my uncle Subba, and myself) went over the design for a while. Or rather, they went over the design, and when called upon, I threw my two cents in. At first, I was bitter about not being included more in the process, but then I realized that these were two men with experience actually doing this type of work, so I should take the opportunity to soak in whatever I could. In summary, the school has one of the parts we need, which means we can transfer some of the costs to making the system bigger. The school also has three LCD monitors, which consume far less power than their other computers, and as a result of the two facts, we will hopefully be able to power three computers this summer.
In the end, Mr. Anand Rao set up a meeting for himself, his son, and me back in Bangalore to meet with another solar distributor, who focuses on smaller scale systems. I'll be leaving tomorrow at 5:30 am, and then returing to Pavagada on Sunday, and hopefully we'll be close to a final design by the end of next week. I've also sent a copy of our newest design to Mr. Ram Kumar (see above) for guidance and input.
Also, today I went to the school, where they had a function to formally introduce me. It was complete with a super traditional and formal introduction by three members of the board in front of the 10th standard (= 10th grade), a garland hung round my neck, a speach by me, then an explanation of how they system will work. It was definitely not something I was prepared for, but a good way to get into the school system. I may be returning to teach a math class or two, so my exposure to school students will be on the rise.
So I think that's everything. It's amazing to actualy feel like things are starting to come together, and in such a good way. I'm learning a lot about patience and swallowing my pride. Thought it's a little painful now, I know that in the long run, these are necessary skills.
In an attempt to create some semblance of sanity in an otherwise chaotic experience, I'll be posting only project related info to this blog, and all other personal ramblings to the following:
Until next time,
Posted by avable at July 8, 2009 12:00 PM