Finally, some progress.
We got a response from CARE, one of the NGOs on our list, and have an appointment with them on Friday. Until then, rather than wait to hear back from the other requests we sent out, and not being able to call from a mobile which we don’t have (got lots of static from the hotel room phone), we decided to just show up at some offices. The first one we went to was the State Water & Sanitation Mission (SWAJAL), a government agency which is responsible for distributing funds for all rural water development for the state of Uttar Pradesh (there is a separate agency for urban water development, and we will try to go see the contact there this week). The woman at SWAJAL, Seema Kumar, was a wealth of information, and provided us with several other contacts to talk to.
We then drove to another part of town to visit the UNICEF and Water Aid offices. No one was available to talk to us at UNICEF, but we were told to come back next Monday. We did find someone to talk to at Water Aid (after our driver, who seemed to have a poor sense of direction, finally found the place), who told us that they funded a pilot project to install 3 arsenic filters in the district of Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, based on the Water for People model in West Bengal, and based on that success, are installing another 310 filters. The Water Aid person was not feeling well, so we are going back to see him tomorrow.
Speaking of not feeling well, I woke up last night with bad stomach cramps. Didn’t feel well all day, between stomach churning (I no longer seem to have the cast iron stomach I prided myself on for so many years) & allergies, I was not at full strength. After some Pepto Bismol & allergy medication, I’m doing a little better, and hopefully will be back to normal tomorrow.
Tomorrow we are going to the AirTel main office to try & get a mobile phone, then off to the Water Aid office. After that appointment, we are meeting with the hotel business manager’s aunt, who runs an NGO for Women & Children’s Welfare.