Day 15: May 31, 2016 --the coolest day of our lives.
Another unreal day in Bolivia. Literally amazed at how much RB has grown in these past couple of weeks. It seems like executive board trips definitely need to be a thing in the summer. Just as a recap we have: constructed our first microflush toilet, trained community health workers & started research with Elizabeth Seton University AND today we increased our media power a thousand fold thanks to the one and only Rodrigo who is just by the way the most amazing person ever.
The day started off bright and early at 7:30am when Rodrigo came to pick us up, coincidentally this was also the time that Akshay decided to get in the shower so we didn’t leave until 7:45, but it was fine and our first interview was at 8:10ish. It was on Los Noticeros, it’s a Cochabamba news channel that goes on from 6:30am - 8:30am. We were interviewed and told them a little bit about our organization. We had another interview at 8:45 on this weird channel that is apparently geared towards young people, Akshay is funny and said he didn’t like the channel like 4 minutes into watching it. The interview was nice because they didn’t ask us any questions so we essentially got to talk about literally whatever wanted. Akshay decided to talk about rape in the community which was kind of a hot topic, Rodrigo also told us to not talk about it so that was the last time we mentioned that. I think the coolest part of the interviews are saying how we are different from other NGOs because we return the same place every time and because we work with local NGO partners to really meet the need of the community In general Akshay and I love talking about RB so interviews are fun.
Then we had a break until 10:50am --our next interview. So Rodrigo took us to the main plaza which is beautiful, and he got us into a municipal council hearing for no real reason other than we had an hour to kill. We also went shopping --bought an alpaca sweater--one that I will hopefully actually wear. Akshay bought stuff for his family too so that was fun. Oh yeah and I also ate this weird empanada de calabaza -- perhaps it is one of the reasons I am currently dying (not really just a cold and some stomach issues). At 10:30am we had our other interview. They made us wait until 11:10 to do this interview which is honestly totally fine by me because the fact that we had 4 tv interviews today is ridiculous. Anyway the channel was like a mom channel but this interviewer was definitely the best so far. She gave us the most airtime and asked real questions about our organization so that was nice. We also got a pretty sick picture with her -- also a plus.
Then me and Akshay had to go to Seton to program the database for the students doing the survey on Friday. He essentially just made a google excel sheet for them to upload all of the information so we just went to the school and created a folder with the link to the excel sheet, training manual and survey questionnaire. Hopefully it will get distributed to the students… that worries me if we’re being honest, I really hope that they input the data by next Tuesday. That would be awesome. Then we went to the bathroom site -- they promised us it would be done today but we all knew that was a lie. It’s ridiculously difficult to make sure people are working unless we come to the site every day. I don’t know why because it’s there bathroom.. Anyway not much as done today and Sandra wasn’t even home. All they really have to do is put in the ceramic tile and shower. Today they made a step and had covered the outside of the bathroom with concrete -- we definitely bought too much concrete. We called Emiliana to tell her to swing by Sandra’s house later that day to make sure that the bathroom would be complete by tomorrow. Also tomorrow at 10:30am we are supposed to do an interview at the bathroom site so we wanted to warn Sandra that news reporters would be coming to the site tomorrow -- but again she wasn’t home so here’s hoping Emiliana communicate all of this too her. Then we had to go to Barrio San Francisco to coordinate with them the taking of the survey. These ladies are ridiculously nice to me- Akshay asked why (because of course he doesn’t think I’m a likeable person) but in reality I’m pretty unclear on why they are so nice. I know they want 2 bathrooms but still…. Coordinating was easy and we managed to get home by 3pm. We had exactly an hour to eat lunch and then Rodrigo picked us up at 4pm.
By this point we were both pretty dead, but we had a talk with the director of Univalle --the largest university of Bolivia. The meeting went well and she promised us things from transportation to engineering students to a communications team to make a documentary of our work. Tomorrow we have to give a presentation at 11:30am at Univalle to the students. Our goal with this is to get RB chapters started at local Bolivian Universities. We could accomplish so much in terms of research, expansion of public health workshops and construction of bathrooms. It seems like they actually have money they want to help us out with and plenty of manpower so I am pretty excited for the talk tomorrow. Afterwards we toured the university with Rodrigos cousin and Akshay died of thirst.
We bought massive water bottles on the way home and then printed the surveys by Unifranz. Then I tried to go the doctor but it was too logistically frustrating so I just went back home. We have an interview at 10:45pm on Bolivia’s most seen late night TV show so that will be great if I make it….. We’ve decided that I’m probably just dehydrated but either way Akshay will go on the interview without me and that will be fun to watch.
Today was probably the coolest day of my life…. Who would have thought that we would have been on TV 4 times in one day!!! Life is great (even though I’m dying).