blog#21, 12 December – by Bas Krewinkel (University of Twente)
I still remember the morning we arrived in India, 8 o’clock at Ahmedabad Airport (perfectly on time according to Air India, involving the regular one hour delay of Air India).
The impressions of as I like to call it, ‘perfect chaos’, during the drive towards the CEE campus. All the crowdedness on the streets, all the animals, all the tuk tuk’s (or rickshaws, actually I still don’t know what is the correct way to call them). It was the complete picture of what I expected India to be like…
The starting weekend of the Wetskills trip was quite exhausting. This could possibly be a consequence of my great idea to stay awake the night before leaving, as this would of course result in a better rest in the plane. However, as this was not the case, I felt like a zombie the entire first Saturday. Besides this small inconvenience, it was a great first team building weekend in which we saw a lot of the highlights of Ahmedabad city. Moreover we got to know the taste of the kitchen of Gujarat, which was a little spicy but in general quite okay for the duration of 4 days. Ok, to be honest, after one week I really enjoyed some continental food again (ouch…), though this was maybe personal.
The first week was all about getting to know our fellow Indian colleagues, and getting to know the cases of this Wetskills 2015 event. With cases varying in water quality, water scarcity and lake redevelopment issues, there was something in it for each participant. Personally I liked the redevelopment case the most, as it was the closest to my background in water quantity management. Luckily I got to work on this the case, together with Karin, Manisha, Vivek and Aakruti. The second part of the first week each group went on the case related field trips. For our group this meant visiting various sites related to restored and non-restored lakes in Ahmedabad. Besides we also went to some old rain water harvesting installations in old Ahmedabad city. I’ll never forget the story of the old lady mentioning she trusted the rain water as the stars were in the right position. Anyway, we drank the water and we didn’t get sick, so a perfect test case to show the quality of rainwater is perfectly fine!
The next weekend we went to Udaipur for some team building v 2.0, this time including liquor. However I’m not going to spent more words on this trip, as what happens in Udaipur stays in Udaipur! What I can say though is that it was a really beautiful city, a bit ‘Fata Morgana style’ for anyone who knows ‘The Efteling’.
The second week was dominated by working on the cases and try to find that one unusual out of the box solution. Especially the last days before the final presentations were really stressful, and took some late hours to finish everything in time. Nonetheless, I think every team came up with a great solution fitting their case challenge. Whether it was my teams solution to involve inhabitants more in the lake redevelopment to prevent it from deterioration, or it was the solution of the winning team to start producing plastic bottles out of waste and fill them with cleaned wastewater as an awareness raiser.
I think, we, as Wetskills participants and of course the organisation, can be proud of what we achieved in such a little amount of time. Being such a close group like we knew each other for half a year already in just two weeks, getting to know our India colleagues and habits (my respect to Thomas who dare to ride on a single bike with Kashyap and Darpan), and not to forget taking cold bucket showers each morning. Okay, a side note needs to be placed incorporating our Windesheim friends, who somehow managed to fix a room including A.C. and a hot shower not once, but twice! Well at least the rest of us got the full India experience…
Summarizing, it were truly incredible weeks which I’ll never forget, and therefore I want to thank the organisation Johan Oost, Machtelijn Brummel, Bjioy Goswami, Shweta Kaushik and all the others who helped to make this Wetskills a big succes a lot!