The Final Countdown

On Thursday, we had the opportunity to put our impromptu speaking skills to the test. We had been informed of an informal question and answer session that we would be participating in earlier in the week. We were told to not worry about it and just show up for the event. What we envisioned was having a conversation with small group of students discussing what we like about India and talking about Michigan Tech. From our expectation, we were in for a little surprise.

The best part of the surprise was that the room the event was in was air conditioned. We have gotten so used to being without air conditioning that when we enter an air conditioned area, it makes everything better. The group of students that we were interacting with was also much larger than we anticipated; it almost seemed like we were acting as a panel for a class. When the professor for the class introduced us, he mentioned the students in the class were interested in hearing about the graduate programs at Michigan Tech. With all of us being undergraduate students and having not prepared anything for the session, we were far from experts on this topic.

We went around and each introduced ourselves. We talked about the projects we’re doing here in India. Sarah went through a slideshow Marcello had put together of pictures of life at Tech and in the Keweenaw. Then the floor was opened for questions. The students asked about clubs and sports at Michigan Tech, what our favorite things about India are, if there is a masters program in biomedical engineering and if we knew any Tamil. While the session didn’t go exactly as we anticipated, it was a lot of fun and the students did ask engaging questions.

We were also able to cover lots of ground with the solar and water filtration projects during week four. With the water filtration system, all the supplies needed to complete the project were purchased. The inflow and outflow storage tanks were cleaned, the pipes were cut and attached, and the sand and gravel barrels have been filled. When attaching the pipes, we ran into an issue with the connectors we decided to use. Initially we planned on having straight pipe connections and attaching them to the barrels using epoxy. The connectors we used created a slight slanted connection that we troubleshooted by using hose for the slanted pipe connections. For week five, we need to wash and dry the charcoal and replace a joint from the outflow storage tank to the overflow pipe. We also need to put up the chicken wire and tarps to monkey proof the water filter and it should be good to go!

For the solar project, the wiring was completed from the panels to the classroom. The low voltage direct current fans were put together and installed into the classroom. The LED lights were put together and installed into the classroom as well. The students are able to utilize the solar power for the lights and fans in the classroom at all times and power the computers for part of the time. We actually got to see the solar power system being used on Friday during a regular power outage.

None of us can believe we’re already into our final week. Time has flown in India and we’re not quite ready to leave. We have enjoyed every second thus far and are eagerly anticipating what week five will bring.


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