Thursday, May 30, 2019

Day 10: Toys for Tots

Today we had a relatively relaxed morning schedule. Following our breakfast, we all worked around the campus on either our projects or finalizing our toys.
Today we had a relatively relaxed morning schedule. Following our breakfast, we all worked around the campus on either our projects or finalizing our toys. The former was rather difficult as the storm which ravaged the city a few days earlier was still negatively affecting our research capabilities.

Around 10:15 a.m., we set out in our groups to present our “toys” to children at a local park. For our group this consisted of a doll, a “bug”, and a multi-purpose necklace which could double as a toy.

Our team retained a rickshaw to transport us to the park. During the drive, I thought back to the toys I had as a kid. For me, much of my time was spent outside, as I lived on a hobby farm. Many of the toys I had consisted of little toys tractors where I could pretend to farm the land like my parents did.

Upon our arrival at Cubbon Park, we began to search for kids and their parents who we thought may be interested in evaluating our toys. Our first opportunity was in a young man and his two sons. The two young boys did not show much interest in our toys. Seeing his sons' disengagement, the young man kindly asked to depart from our activity.

Slightly disappointed but not discouraged, we pressed on. Next, we approached two women whom were with a young boy and a young girl. After asking the two women if we could speak with the children about toys, we each presented our toys to the children. Their overall reactions to our toys were not so good as the children really had no interest in our toys. The young boy even looked slightly afraid. Reflecting back to myself as a child, I often remember a toy clown which I particularly didn’t like and often inspired some sort of fear. Perhaps our toys weren’t as aesthetically pleasing to children as we initially thought.

Next, we approached a large family who had a young girl around the age of 12, quite older than the children we first interviewed. The young girl had shown some curiosity in our toys, however, we had determined that her interest was likely due to the material in which they were made out of (recycled bottles, tape, leaves, etc.) rather than the toy itself. At this point we all were quite convinced that our toys were unsatisfactory for the children of Bangalore. However, we decided that we would ask for one more opinion.

Our last interviewee was a young girl around the age of 10 who was accompanied by her parents. After asking her parent for permission to talk to their daughter, we each displayed the toys we had created. The young girl was rather ecstatic with our toys and showed some affection to each. Given the level of enjoyment the young girl displayed, we decided to give her the doll that Anna made. Following this, we made our way back to the UTC to debrief with the rest of the groups and continue our project work.

-- Mike R.


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