Amrita Live-in-labs

A project by: Nial Perry

Successful

WE RAISED £1,000

from 49 donors

This project received pledges on Mon 03 Jun 2019
1 week, 4 days ago

03/09/19

Hello there,

Keep your eyes on the sky everybody; in less than 48 hours, I’ll be swooping over the UK and officially ending my Indian adventure – our Indian adventure, for you were as much a part of it as I.

Any attempt to summarise this experience would inevitably exclude so much of what’s happened. Each second packed something: a meeting, a sight, a shock, a feeling. I honestly wouldn’t change a single one of them.

The focal point was the project, and I’m happy that I was able to contribute, even if not to the poverty-eliminating extent I’d envisioned. I wish the rest of the team every success in continuing it. Biogas bears a real potential for change, and it’s incredible that a team of students of my age are independently developing a completely new strand of the technology.

If you’re seeing me in the next few weeks years, I offer my sincerest apologies in advance; I’ll probably talk your ear off about all of this! If not, consider yourself spared! Anyhow, thank you for helping me along this journey and for staying with me right until the end.

Over and out,

Nial (a grateful young adult)

1 week, 4 days ago

03/09/19

Hello there,

Keep your eyes on the sky everybody; in less than 48 hours, I’ll be swooping over the UK and officially ending my Indian adventure – our Indian adventure, for you were as much a part of it as I.

Any attempt to summarise this experience would inevitably exclude so much of what’s happened. Each second packed something: a meeting, a sight, a shock, a feeling. I honestly wouldn’t change a single one of them.

The focal point was the project, and I’m happy that I was able to contribute, even if not to the poverty-eliminating extent I’d envisioned. I wish the rest of the team every success in continuing it. Biogas bears a real potential for change, and it’s incredible that a team of students of my age are independently developing a completely new strand of the technology.

If you’re seeing me in the next few weeks years, I offer my sincerest apologies in advance; I’ll probably talk your ear off about all of this! If not, consider yourself spared! Anyhow, thank you for helping me along this journey and for staying with me right until the end.

Over and out,

Nial (a grateful young adult)

3 weeks, 4 days ago

20/08/19

Hey all,

We’ve almost finished our information manuals, which we will later hand to the villagers. All that’s left is to snap pictures of the team’s members to include, and get it translated (it’d be more useful in the villagers’ own language, perhaps!) When we finish this, we’ll move on to 3D printing a prototype for experiments with the team.

We’ve also been celebrating a birthday this week. That’s right, this grateful boi finally hit 19, and has evolved into a grateful young adult; thank you all for the positive birthday wishes! My quest for a cake to mark the day lead us to wander along the poorly-lit highway for quite some time. Sadly, we never got our cake. We did have a lot of fun dodging the traffic though!

If only there were a cake when I returned home… (Nudge nudge, family) ;)

Best wishes,

Nial

1 month ago

Ho ho ho! 

‘Less is more’ jests the cheapskate uncle at Christmas. He already anticipates your disappointment to open his lousy gift: a poundland-plastic imitation of something you’d never asked for. By habit, you egest an equally plastic ‘thanks’, through a smile that deceives not one soul around the Christmas tree. ‘Less is more’ he repeats wryly. As if this triad of syllables could remedy your broken heart!

‘Why do you speak of cheapskate uncles and sad Christmases?’ A good question, dear reader, to which I reply ‘for allegory’. I am aware that saying ‘less is more’ will not upturn your upset – like that of sodden child on December 25th - at finding this week’s account to be brief. However, like a cheapskate uncle, I smile wryly and shrug it off. This week’s account, then:

India remains incredible. We’re still chugging along with our project work, with enough spare time to write lame allegories on the side ;)

Happy Christmas!

Nial

14/08/19

1 month, 1 week ago

06/08/19

Namaste! (is hello in Hindi)

From night’s thick darkness we emerged, just in time to meet the sun’s first rays hurdling the Himalayan backdrop. ‘Our home for the next three days’ we mused, half-shattered by the twelve hour car ride we’d just endured, half-stunned by the dawn unfolding afore us. This was Uttarakhand – a luscious and hilly corner of India, and site-to-be of our project work.

With a quick breakfast and shower we shook off the fatigue of our journey and got to work. For Altyn and I, this entailed talking to villagers to establish a consensus about Biogas. Their comments were cause for optimism. Many of those we spoke to were co-operative, which made our next task easier: organising informative workshops for women and children.

The women received us happily. The children, more tentatively (until we introduced a few British games – stuck in the mud anyone?) Most, however, were still unfamiliar with the science-side of biogas. We will thus print usage manuals for them to remedy this, so that they’ll be able to maintain their own biogas plants post-installation; self-sufficiency for the win!

Our other work consisted of data collection. The children were more interested in this, it seems, as they murmured and giggled at the colour-changing pH strips. (I can’t pretend I wasn’t just as captivated; they’re like magic chameleons!)

Overall our village visit was a huge success! We made many measurements – soil temperature, wastewater pH, etc – which will enable us to begin simulations of ambient conditions and calculate energy potential. Furthermore, we got an insight into the workings of the village, and the people at the heart of it. This was touching, as it reminded me of why these projects are so important: they provide genuine difference to the lives of real people.

A quick reminder that you have facilitated this difference with your donation. It is with your help that women will save 5 hours a day from not needing to collect firewood. It is with your help that many of the village’s children will be spared from lung disease by cooking with cleaner fuel. It is with your help that families on low-income will save 20% of their spending from not needing petroleum. THANK YOU!

Yours gratefully,

Nial

1 month, 3 weeks ago

Vanakkam! (is hello in Tamil) 

Monsoon rains absent, the weather around campus has mostly been settled. Likewise has our routine; we’ve gently swung into a day-to-day, not too dissimilar to that of our project-mates (minus their lectures, plus our individual research-time). The result: this week has passed quickly, like sand through one’s fingers or, more in phase with the humid-valley climate here, like the raindrops that race down one’s car window.

In spite of its speed, the week has been fruitful. I’ve significantly advanced my understanding of biogas plants, such that my questions now come less from incomprehension, and tend more towards testing the rigidity of the project in accordance with textbook guidelines. I’m yet to find fault with their plans, though – the team’s schemes are watertight! We’re planning to visit a nearby biogas plant tomorrow too. This will help us when building the prototype as we’ll have a visual image to relate to.

Those who worry about my remoteness, be not afeard! I’m still staying in the media loop; during our recent escapade to the city, Altyn and I caught the new Lion King in cinemas (the only one with English audio of course). I appreciate much about the rural lifestyle, but couldn’t resist the allure of a blockbuster! Ahh, the joys of globalisation.

(haven’t yet caught a Bollywood film though :( )

Yours gratefully,

Nial

2 months ago

Hey again,

Unlike Lemony Snicket’s, my week has been a series of fortunate events! The arrival of my missing luggage enabled us to move operations to Coimbatore campus. This in turn set sail to our project-work: developing and constructing a biogas plant for a village in rural India.

As a lazy student, I was initially shocked to assume the project (imagine having actual responsibilities!) Yet the shock was short-lived; through individual research – and much questioning of the project’s full-time workers – I have replaced fear with fervent interest. In particular, I am excited to be part of the prototype construction in the coming weeks - an opportunity to realize theoretical science. I also look forward to the village visit in two weeks’ time, to see how this work fits in with peoples’ livelihoods.

The campus itself is lovely, made lovelier by the warm reception our hosts have provided. Here we spend much of our time between work, with ample space to run around and take in the surrounding forestry. We have also been bedazzled by the meals. The students here consider them ‘school-dinner quality’, yet they still out-rank most of the UK food! 

(that’s not to say I don’t miss mum’s cooking a little)

With a grateful adios,

Nial

2 months, 1 week ago

09/07/19

Hello there!

My first week in India has fit many extremes. Each day has been elongated by the continuous sensual orchestra - I've soaked up every tincture in the hue of the sky and I've smelt a spice to match each. I've heard the explosive urban traffic - horns tooting, tuk-tuks rattling, pedestrians yelling - and I've felt the stillness of the Ashram in meditative hours.

We have spent the first week in a sea-side campus, in Kerala. Our plan was to move to another in-land (in Tamil Nadu) as soon as possible to begin project-work. However, since our suitcases did not arrive on our flight with us, we had to await them here in proximity to the airport. Mine arrived last night, so we expect imminent re-location. 

The delay has had benefits though. This sea-side campus is the site of much spiritual observance, and draws soul-seekers from across the globe. We have thus been lucky enough to meet and share stories with lots of virtuous people. We've also met a lovely bunch of other international students with whom to explore the area. Some were nice enough to give us clothes in the absence of our suitcases! 

I am much enjoying this trip, in light of which I want to reiterate my thanks to you. Your donation has created this positive experience for me. When the project-work begins, it will also enable positive change for villagers of North-West India (we found out our project location, though I can't reveal precise details for security reasons). 

Yours gratefully,

Nial 

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Through the window behind my laptop screen I see sunlight. It embellishes the thick leaves of the Acacia tree, lending them a golden glimmer with every yawn of the wind. It pierces the pastel sheet overhead. It, too, reflects my joy at being 5 days from leaving for India!

We will speak again once in that fabulous territory.

With jovial anticipation,

Nial

3 months, 3 weeks ago

and WE MADE IT! 

The last onset of donations have pushed me beyond my minimum target! It is now guaranteed that I receive all of your kind pledges. Yay! 

On a separate note, this image is of myself on the starting line for the Greater Manchester 10km, which I ran to fund-raise and test my endurance. I finished in 45:03 - much quicker than anticipated. 

P.S Excuse the wonky sign; I was orienting by the writing on the back! 

3 months, 3 weeks ago

WE'RE ALMOST THERE

With the recent boost from my generous family, I'm within touching distance of my minimum target! This - and booking the flights - makes India feel suddenly very real.

If you've given or shared my post, I re-iterate my gratitude to you. You are providing rural people with indispensable services, and myself with this fantastic opportunity. 

If you haven't, don't worry! There is still time to do so - if you agree with me that this is a noble cause. 

Best Wishes to all! 

4 months ago

Hello all!

Many thanks to everyone that has donated thusfar. Your positive response has been heart-warming! 

Next week, I will run the great Manchester 10k in order to raise more funds and test my endurance. If you want to sponsor me in running this, whack that big purple button up top^ 

Have a nice day.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow... only a day has passed and I'm £100 closer to achieving my target. Big thanks to Andy and Smithy for their altruism (and haste!)