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Weekly Blog

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Week of Feb 14, 2008

We started with a quick update on our Valentine Day action. The plan was carried out and a member who was at the scene reported that the admin who received the box of candies rushed to her colleague's office with an excited, "Look what I got!"

We had the pleasure of Joe Madiath's company today.

Joe has been working on water and sanitation for rural communities for over thirty years now. He has installed over 50,000 bio-gas plants that form a compelling sustainable renewable energy alternative.

Joe introduced two people who were with him - Raghu and Deepti Vaghela. Deepti is a Masters student whose thesis is on Microhydel projects in India. Deepti and Joe had to catch a flight the next day at 4 am, and yet, were so kind to spend some time with us.

The discussion was vibrant, and ranged from the problems with Communism and greedy capitalism and on a middle ground - social entrepreneurship! Joe describes himself as a social entrepreneur and he believes that access to clean water is directly related to rural health. Due to lack of sanitary hygiene, the water that reaches such communities contains human defecation and causes diseases. He has figured out a way to sustainably provide clean drinking water using bore wells. The cost of providing a water connection for drinking, bathing and toilet purposes is $100 per family.

And, we got tagged with an anonymous act of kindness. One member, after reading our announcement that we won't be serving dinner, ordered pizzas for us. The pizza delivery guy had a hard time finding our location and when he did, we had two boxes of hot pizza and an envelope with a smile card in it.

Here are some photos from the event:

And, the person bending down in the picture below is none other than Sarvodaya Prasad, our next speaker. It turns out that Joe knows him very well and was quite stunned to see him here. He kept saying, with a big grin, "To come all this way to the United States and bump into you.." They were both colleagues a few decades back working together for rural development.















Pic below: Tanushree and Deepti chatting about the latter's work.

















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