Monday, October 18, 2010

10/18/2010 - Back to Reality

This is officially my last post of this blog.  Today I was back at work and it really feels strange. I remember feeling like this when I returned from Chile after a couple years.  Many people have come up to me and asked, "So how was India?" and/or asked "How was the CSC program?".  It's hard to answer questions like these in a brief manner so I've kept my responses relatively short.  "Yes, I had a wonderful experience" and "India was great." I suppose the best thing I could do is give them the URL to this blog, right? :-).  Take care everyone and thanks for following!!
The Blue Tigers - IBM CSC India9
Left to Right (Top) Chris, Mario, Patricia, Randy, Wolf, Joanne, Mariana, Natalia
(Bottom) Kohichi, Dan, Katja

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/16/2010 - My Travel Day

Well it's arrived.  My return trip home.  It will be a grueling haul. 19 hours of flight time and 13 hours of layover waits.  Oh goody.  I'm practically the last one at the hotel now and it's a strange feeling.  I'm so used to having the team around.  It's eerily quiet here.  I really, really miss home now and can't wait to get back.  So that's it .. if all goes well my next and last post on my trip will be done from home.  Until then.
See ya at home.

10/15/2010 - Farewell CSC Team

Today the team ran around preparing for travel.  Since I'm one of the last to leave (tomorrow) I basically provided assistance to anyone who needed it.  We had lunch together at a nice place called Mint Masala. It's a very good vegetarian buffet.  After that I accompanied a few of the team members on a final shopping trip.  I volunteered to be an official bag carrier.  No one took me up on the offer though.  We got back to the hotel, had a quick dinner and said our goodbyes.  It was sad and I don't want nor need to add further details  I'm going to miss you team!!!
A final good laugh

10/14/2010 - Farewell PSI

Today was our farewell to our NGO partner PSI.  We started the day by adding some finishing touches to our deliverable.  At around 1pm they took us to lunch at one of the biggest malls in Asia.  We had an excellent meal.  Afterward the attending senior manager gave a speech honoring Chris and I.  It was great and in fact there was a moment Chris and I almost choked up.  We are really going to miss the team.  They made us feel like family.  We'll never forget the experiences they provided us.  

After we got back to the hotel we hosted our last farewell night party.  We did an Indian theme and all the men and women wore Indian attire.  The men coordinated a short Bollywood dance sequence and there is no way I'm posting that video.   It was a great night but the sadness is starting to sink in.  Tomorrow's going to be rough.
Our last lunch with PSI - We'll miss you!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/13/2010 – My First Cricket Match

What a way to start the work day.  Because PSI was so pleased with our work, they insisted we go to watch cricket for a couple hours before going to the office.  So that’s what we did.  And guess what? We got to see the national Indian team play Australia.  Chris and I were a little spooked walking around because we figured people thought we were Australian fans.  We remedied that quickly by purchasing some Indian flags and getting our face painted.   It was so cool and I actually have cricket semi-figured out.   We left the match at lunch time and as we were leaving a lot Indians thanked us for cheering for their team.  BTW .. The Indians blew away Australia.  

Afterward we put in a solid day of work. We are just about finished with everything.  We are really, really going to miss the PSI team.  I told Chris if he starts crying on our last day I will too :-).

At night we went out with the gang to get some Bollywood dance lessons.  How did I do? Maybe a D+, C-.  Fun, but difficult.  Later. 
Cheering for the Indians

10/12/2010 - A Day in Delhi

Today was by far the longest day of work for Chris and I.  We started our day at 4:30am.  Quick shower, no breakfast, pickup at the hotel at 5am and caught a 7am flight to Delhi.  We made it to the gate just in time, just like true Indians.

We arrived Delhi at 9:30am, grabbed a quick bite to eat and proceeded to PSI’s headquarters to chat with the managing director (president) and meet some other people.  Their headquarters were really nice.  They took an old mansion and converted it into office space.  We met a few other people and then around noon went on our field visit.

Our visit was an eye opening experience.  We visited a C-class neighborhood.  C-Class implies they are just above Indian poverty levels.  The streets were tiny and filled with people.  I didn’t get a sense that people were suffering.  On the contrary, people seemed to be generally happy.  I imagine a society based on the caste system will do that.   Anyway, PSI was teaching women about birth control (particularly IUD).  They put on a play that attracted quite the audience.  After the play they targeted a young Muslim woman for some 1 on 1 consoling.  PSI asked if we could join the discussion in their home and they said yes.  It was incredible.  Its experiences like these that can change a person for life.  

After the field visit we went back to PSI headquarters and did our presentation again for the president and his direct staff.  Once again Chris and I did a great job.  We’re pretty confident PSI will be adopting our recommendations.  At 5pm we went back to the airport, grabbed a 6:45pm flight, and were in our hotel by 11pm.  A very long day.
Field visit with PSI - IUD education

Monday, October 11, 2010

10/11/2010 - Finishing Up and the Bangalore Palace

Today Chris and I spent the day working on the finishing touches of our final, main deliverable.  At around 12 pm we found out that our partner, PSI, wants to fly us out to Delhi to present once again to the managing director and his direct staff.  So guess what? Chris and I have to wake up tomorrow at 4am to catch an early flight.  We'll be returning at 11pm so it's going to be a long day for us.

After work we spent an hour at the Bangalore Palace.  Quite an amazing place.  We took an audio tour of the grounds and it was interesting to hear about all the history of the place.

After we got back to the hotel we met with the team at 7pm.   We stayed up at the terrace and each team presented his/her situation with their respective partner.  The meeting lasted until 12am....meaning I'm only going to get a few hours of sleep.  Because of the trip tomorrow I may not blog tomorrow.  We'll see.
In front of Bangalore Palace garden