Andrea and I are currently in Bangalore, India. We arrived to Delhi on Sunday, June 19th, flew to Hyderabad on Thursday, June 23rd, and to Bangalore yesterday evening. In Delhi, we met with two disaster relief aid distributors, a solar light manufacturer, and a few other contacts. Each meeting has been very productive. It is extremely helpful to meet with people in person. We're headed to meet with a disaster relief aid distributor.
In Hyderabad, we met with an inflatable manufacturer. They focus on large-scale, promotional inflatables, but took a look at the drawings and were willing to give us a quote, show us material samples, and discuss different manufacturing techniques that might be possible. We have been working with plastic manufacturers in China as well, but it is nice to see things firsthand and be able to understand the process more so that we can find the best way to do things.
In Hyderabad, we also met with someone who focuses on selling solar lights in rural India and Africa. He gave us one of the lanterns that he retails. It was really interesting to talk to him about the market size and the types of lights that people are looking for. He sells his lights for around 1700 rupees - or about $38. Andrea's father's college classmate lives in Hyderabad and was kind enough to host us for a few days.
We have been doing some sightseeing too. We visited the Taj Mahal while we were in Delhi and the drive to Agra (where the Taj Mahal is located) was around 4 hours. We passed by lots of road-side villages with people living in homes made of packed dirt, metal siding, makeshift tents, and simple brick. So many of these people had businesses that they were running - carts selling things or a barber shop set up on the side of the street with a mirror on the stone wall and a chair facing it. People were working very hard. On the way back, everything was dark and the hustle mostly gone. It made me want to get one of the colorful Tata trucks we see everywhere here and fill it with lights to hand out to people along the road so that they can continue their business operations past dusk and feel safer at night. We have a few more meetings in the next few days and then are headed to a village outside of Bangalore to give some lights to.