Monday, March 31, 2008

The EHA Water Project Staff

Apam, Justin, Yado, Anand, Suman, Papa Rao, Dan, Esther, Dennyson, Rajesh

Trying to read the newspaper, EHA office.

EHA Staff Singing, EHA office.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Holi - The Festival of Colours

Holi - The Festival of Colours, was this Saturday. Basically people go about throwing colored powder or paint on each other. It gives this less then mundane little town even more of a festive vibe then it normally has. Anand (a coworker) was going to take me to the beach, where so much color is thrown that it turns the ocean water colors. But he got sick so I had to be content with walking around my neighborhood. I am told that in comparison to North India the Holi celebrations are quite tame.

Feeling a little green?

Neighborhood boys playing Holi.
See the empty bag of green powder and the green hands.
I think we found the culprits.

Happy Holi

Water fight...except with paint! Whats not to love!
The powdered dye come out of clothes and off of skin relatively easily,
but the liquid form is another matter.

This post is dedicated to Sarah T. Ask her how she used to (and maybe still does) describe brilliant colors.
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Well Boreing in Badur Tikrey

Anand and I took the bus all the way to Diglipur, North Andaman, which involves an 11 or so hour bus ride, two ferries and a few convoys through Jarawa reserve (one of the aboriginal people groups on the island). The next morning we got up early to bore a well in Badur Tikrey (one of the villages we work with).

Drilling Rig

Drilling rig up close and personal.

Making the cuts in the PVC pipe to let water in.

PVC pipe meets bore well.

However, around 3:00pm when we had drilled nearly 100ft and still didn't hit water we called it quits.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Out of the Office

I'm leaving early tomorrow morning (March 18) and don't expect to be back until March 20. We are going to drill a bore well in North Andaman... hopefully.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I have been seconded to EHA's Andaman Water Project. Right now the project is in its pilot phase. We are working with 10 villages to try and increase the quality, quantity and proximity of clean water. In conjunction with community based groups we are looking at options of rainwater harvesting tanks, bore wells with hand pumps, piped systems, filtration systems and cleaning existing sources, among others.

The rainwater tank system we are using consists of sheets of corrugated iron with a liner to make it water tight. Although we are still working on the design.

Rainwater Harvesting Tank, North Andaman.

We are doing both mechanical drilling and hand drilling of bore wells. In sites that are near a road we can use a drilling rig, but many of the villages con not be reached by road and so the wells need to be bored by hand. A hand pump is then installed to extract the water. We are also testing the water to insure its quality.

One method of testing the water from a hand pump,
Apam, Rajesh and Anand, North Andaman.

Another method of testing the water,
Rajesh, Apam and Anand, North Andaman.

Only a few days after I arrived in Port Blair I was whisked away on a two week trip to North, Middle and South Andaman. The objective of this trip was to have three Stakeholders Meetings and then have a regional seminar in Port Blair to bringing together what we had leaned. The stakeholders included members of the communities, Government officials, Forest Department, Public Works Department, other NGOs and anyone else who had something to say about the water situation. This was a good way for me to not only see much of the island and get to know the team but also get a crash course on what EHA and my work for the next few years will be about.

One of the Stakeholders Meetings, Baratang.

This post is dedicated to my Aunt Bonnie who thinks I am just vacationing and not actually doing any work.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Port Blair

Port Blair is a very hilly little town and quite busting, but in a laid back island kind of way. Because of all the hills I’m not quite sure, as of yet, how much of the town I’ve actually seen. While zooming around on the back of a motorcycle each summit gifts you with yet another pocket of the city tucked down in a valley. The same goes for the ocean, every time you think you are quiet a ways inland another bend in the road revels a another glimpse of the deep blue, with the obligatory palm trees, and possibly a boat or two.

There must be 50 small shops within a few hundred meters of my room but the contents of each shop varies only slightly from the shop beside it. So if you can’t find what you want, the shop owner always points very confidently across the street and adamantly tells you that they have what you are looking for… even if you just came from that very shop on the suggestion of the previous proprietor.

During the Asian equivalent of the siesta hours all but a very few shops close their garage doors which shut in the open-air dukan. This completely changes the landscape and can be quite disorienting if you have been using the shops as landmarks. However, the evening is a completely different scene when the temperature drops below 90 degrees. Not only do the shops all open but the street venders with there carts equipped with gas, burners, deep fryers, skillets, and all the accoutrements required for making quite an array of fried food.

Then there are always the tea stands which give you a show along with your tea for only 10 cents. The show involves throwing/pouring the tea out of one mug and catching it in another mug before in splashes to the ground. This makes the tea quite frothy and wonderful. The better the tea wala the farther the tea is “pulled.” I would not recommend trying this at home.

On to my living situation:
When I first took up residence on the Andaman islands I was staying in the EHA's (remember that who I am working with) Guest House. It was quite a nice place, very breezy, had a balcony and conveniently the food "mess" that I am a part of was served in the same apartment.

Pretty in pink, EHA Guest house, Port Blair

The balcony of the EHA Guest House, Port Blair.
I then moved to a semi more permanent location...The "Hollyday Inn." However it isn't only the spelling that makes me suspect it isn't part of the chain. But it quite adequate, has a pilar in the center of the room (interesting architectural design, I'm sure placed there for it's aesthetic qualities) and it is right across the street from the office.

My second residence, The Hollyday Inn, Port Blair

View out my window, Hollyday Inn, Port Blair.

This posting is dedicated to Joe S. who reads my blog.
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Sunday, March 9, 2008

First Pics from the Andamans

Here is what you've all been waiting for... the first pictures from the Andamans. First to make you all jealous I'll give you a picture of and island we traveled to to relax for a bit. Next I have a few pictures of my co-workers so you can get to know them as well. I'll write descriptions and have more pictures soon so just hold your horses.

Sand bar connecting Ross and Smith Islands.

My colleague Apam

My colleague Suman

Anan, Apum and myself showing off our shades.
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More pictures of Tamil Nadu

Julie, MCC India Staff

Place of worship

Children playing in park build by SUCHI, one of MCC's Partners

Composting Toilet, Also built by SUCHI

This post is dedicated to Adrienne and her love for South India.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pictures from Tamil Nadu, South India

Temple elephant, Pondicherry

Tamil Nadu

Sarah, MCC Rep

Sarah with SUCHI staff

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