17 December 2019

Day In the Life of a Trekker

Global Impact Program – India

by Sarah Dight
Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT), India

5:50am Alarm goes off, I jump out of bed and throw on my gym clothes. Stronger by Kanye West is being blasted from a Bluetooth speaker through the house to let everybody know it’s time for their chosen morning exercise. 

6am The Group Leader drives a few of us through the village to a local gym.  

7:05am We arrive back at the house and two people who were rostered on for the day have prepared eggs and porridge for all 21 of us. I enjoy my scrambled eggs on toast with a cup of tea and chat with the house mates before heading down stairs to wash my dishes and jump into the shower.

7:50am Dressed and ready with time to spare, I log on to Asana, where our team tracks our tasks, and add in my MITs (most important tasks) for the day. 

8:36am Untouched by The Veronicas is pumping through the house to let everyone know they have until the end of the song to be at Morning Meeting with their team. Our team of 7 meets on the rooftop of our 3-story house. The sun is hiding behind the morning smog and I soak in the view of colourful houses, cows, palm trees and farms off in the distance. India is beautiful. We give our Team Leader a health rating to check in on our mental and physical health. We go through our top three MITs and our plan for the day. Then as a fun morning ritual we answer a question, and all take our anti malaria tablets together. This morning it was “if you could commit any crime and get away with it what would it be, and why?” My favourite answer was from our Team Leader who said she’d highjack a private jet and travel wherever she wanted.

8:50am It’s Monday morning of the last week on project so we have heaps to do! We look at our goals for the month and plan out how we’re going to achieve them. We’re on the agricultural team. We’ve partnered with an Australian biotech company who we’re doing market research for to determine if their technology will be viable in this market. Our aim over the summer is to map out the supply chain in the agricultural sector and understand the problems of every segment. We have a huge week, still needing 13 data points for commercial farmers, 17 data points for smallholder and subsistence farmers, and 8 data points for middlemen.

9:30am My teammate and I present our goals and our plan of attack to achieve them to the rest of the house.  They also present to us. This helps us stay informed about the other projects and motivate each other to keep the hustle on!

10am Back at the work desk. The team is starting work on the handover documentation for the next month of trekkers that come and pick up the project where we leave off. This is a vital document that summarises our findings for the month and pushes the project in the right direction.

12pm Time for a quick lunch. We heat up some of the left-over vegetarian curry and roti from last night’s dinner and eat while we listen to the team leader deliver a SMEAC. This is a plan for every time we leave the house to empathise/survey the community. It goes over timings, risks/safety, transport and all other things that need to be considered when leaving the house and entering the community. 

12:30pm Today there are two teams of two heading out to collect data points from smallholder and commercial farmers. Meanwhile two teammates are staying home to work on the handover document and write up the results from the segments that we have collected all our data points from. We leave the house and walk through the local village to meet our interns (the local agricultural university students who translate for us). After some negotiations with various tuk tuk drivers, we’re on the road to a local farming area.

12:45pm We arrive at the farming area and survey commercial and smallholder farmers about their crops and seeds, their understanding of biodiversity, productivity, income/sales, nutrition, market information, data, technology access and most importantly the problems they face.

4pm Our 2IC picks us up from an arranged meeting point due to lack of access to tuk tuks and transport in this area. We head back to the house.

4:25pm Back at the work desk to input the data we’ve collected. We celebrate our success and inform the team mates that stayed at home about what interesting information we collected from the farmers. 

5:15pm The team heads to the rooftop for R&R (review and recap) where we go over everything that happened in the day. As the sun is setting, we go around in a circle to share our SIFs (sustains, improves and fixes) for the day. My sustain was the productivity of myself and my team mate out data collecting, I was very happy with the quality of data we collected and our time efficiency. My improve for the day was my energy levels at the end of the day. In the afternoon when I was imputing data, I started to get tired and lose focus a little bit. My fix for this is to stay hydrated and take a 5 minute break if I need it to help me stay productive.

5:30pm It’s the end of the work day and we had downstairs to put away our laptops. I get changed into comfy clothes and catch up on social media from friends and family back at home. I wander out into the common areas of the house to relax and unwind with the housemates; we put on some tunes and play Uno – I win, of course. 


7:00pm Dinner time! Tonight, it’s chickpea curry and dahl with roti and rice. Everyone in the house chats about their day and other interesting topics of conversation. Tonight, there’s a heated debate between Victorians and South Australians about whether it’s called Devon or Fritz.

7:45pm Once everyone’s finished eating, our 2IC stands up for dinner announcements. This is anything the whole group needs to know such as events, or reminders to keep things tidy as well as asking who will be participating in which exercises for the next morning. I put my hand up for the run. One of the leaders starts off a group riddle. This one involved a little jingle about a spoon game and who is and isn’t allowed to play. Things get intense as everyone tries to figure out the rule/pattern of the riddle. Some people get fed up and leave, some people jump up and pump their fists into the air when they get it. After intense concentration and brain power, I feel invigorated when I figure out that it’s to do with what people say when they receive the spoon.

9:00pm In the common area of level 2 good tunes are pumping and we’re chilling on the lounges, some playing another game of Uno and some just relaxing, scrolling on social media.

9:45pm I’m exhausted. I get chuck my pjs on, brush my teeth, say goodnight to everyone and jump into bed with lights out by 10pm, ready for another big day tomorrow.

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