April 18, Eco-hostel welcoming party, by Trang

Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, we all start our day at some point. After 3 days staying in Calakmul, our labbers seem to all start it the same. The sounds of dog barking, cat moaning and especially turkey singing called us up every morning, acting as a well-functioning alarm clock. Rise early and we all had plenty of time to have breakfast together.

Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015
Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015

I have always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry and find no more energy to work. We stuffed ourselves with full of delicious home-made tamales to get ready for another productive work day. We first met at the eco-hostel. The schedule today was that we would go through all collected data to define some insights which we should look further into. We also got educated deeper about sanitation systems so as it would be the main topic for today’s interview. A common technological understanding is much needed in a multi-discipline team.

Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015
Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015

We discussed and decided to come back to at least 1 households to interview further on topic of septic tank and the habit of using the toilet. Our team managed to interview 2 families today, one new and one old.

Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015
Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015

The new family we met first unintentionally. The mother of the house introduced us to her beautiful and modern toilet. The toilet was made from bricks and well-painted. The flush toilet was also new and had no bad smell. From the outlook, it did not differ from any western toilet. She said she was satisfied with her toilet, but had concerns about the water quality. She really wanted to have a water pipe system implemented soon in this area.

Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015
Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015

The second family we met was Mrs. Silvia. She was so kind and hospitable. We had such an emotional conversation today. Perhaps, Coca-Cola really has the power to let people open up their feelings and thoughts. We also had many cookies during the interview. We asked about information about her sanitation system. She was calling it septic tank at first. However, after she described that it was just a hole with a concrete cover. We realized that actually she did not have a clear picture of what could be a septic tank and her sanitation system was just more or less a pit latrine. We asked her if she could think of any effects that her current septic tank might do to the ground water. She expressed a mild concern that it could have a negative impact. We also asked her in detail about her opinion on dry toilet. She said that she actually really liked it and her mother actually had one. Although she also mentioned in a funny way that her kids did not like the dry toilet at all, she would be ready to be an example and convince them to use it. She understood that the dry toilet with right maintenance can be pleasant and much useful under the community’s circumstance.

Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015
Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015

Today was a special day because of the eco-hostel welcoming party. We were so surprised at how people at the community engaging themselves with Aalto Lab Mexico project. There were different generations coming to the event, ranging from infant to elderly. They looked so excited with all the pictures and postcard hung on the wall. We have been here for only 4 days but after this welcoming party, we realized that ALM had made such a big impact on people. People are ready to make better change for their life. They are eager to engage in activities from ALM because they understand its good purposes. Looking at people’s smile, we were all smiling and feeling happy.

Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015
Photo © Jan Ahlstedt/ALM 2015

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