Saturday, February 28, 2009

Visit with Donna Anderson's friend

Indu and I met "Shashi" Srikanta, a friend of my friend from church at home, Donna Anderson. She worked many years ag0 for the Peace Corps in Mandya near here.
Shashi treated us to drinks, snacks and lunch at the Bangalore Club, the most prestigious private club in Bangalore. It was founded by the Brits in the 1890s.

Temple visit at the apartment complex

Indu brought me to her apartment complex's temple on Friday evening when she heard the 5:30 PM temple bells ringing. The women and priest were very kind and welcoming.

J K Mandelia's office

This morning at 12:30, I walked over to visit my second Rotary host, J K Mandelia, at his office which is just a 3 minute walk from home. He works as the president for corporate sales, marketing and purchasing for West Coast Paper Mills Ltd. His walk to the Rotary Club of Bangalore clubhouse is also a 3 minute walk. They live in an apartment which is very centrally located.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Saturday morning walk

Out on a Saturday morning walk with my Rotary host, JK Mandelia, I ran into my friend, Ronald McDonald. Actually, the entrance driveway to their apartment complex is next door to McDonalds. In Cubbon Park, I discovered a new side business.... but ice cream sales were quite slow at 7:30 AM. Zut alors, zut!

Parikrma school project

Our GSE team visited a third Rotary Club of Bangalore service project. Parikrma, which means "completing the circle," is a newer school in Bangalore serving 900 kids at 4 locations. It began in 2003 to serve the poor kids from the slums ($15 / monthly average family income) but has had tremendous success. It has 97% attendence and only 1% drop out rates.

Skulka Bose, founder and CEO, was formerly a CEO in the corporate world and has now created an incredible new education concept.

Rotary club blood bank project

Our GSE team visited the blood donation bank project after the first school. Again the Rotary Club of Bangalore is a major sponsor of this project. Here they collect blood donations, screen and seperate blood based on the current needs.

Rotary Club of Bangalore service project

On Friday morning, our GSE team went to visit a special school built and largely sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bangalore. Children attend at no cost. One of the Rotarians pays annually $40,000 to cover the teachers' salaries, cost of the school uniforms and student books. We visited each classroom and met some delightful, cheery kids and talked afterwards with their female principal who wore a beautiful green sari.

North Indian Potato Paranthas

These were my breakfast delights this morning:
Potato Paranthas
makes 8 Pieces with these ingredients:
200 grams wheat flour
4 boiled potatoes
1/2 tsp salt
one small, green chili (or more to taste)
chopped colinder leaves
one small chopped onion
Put little salt in with wheat flour & kneed it into a dough with water. Make a round ball of the dough, then put a filling of (grated boiled potatos, salt, chilli, colinder leaves and chopped onion) & then roll it into a flat, round parantha & then fry it in a hot pan with little oil. Spread small amount of butter on top and serve! Enjoy! Receipe by Rotary homestay hostess "Indu" Mandelia of Bangalore.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Indian gods at home

Here you see the Krishna god which hangs over my bed and the Genesha elephant god which sits in a glass case in the living room.

"Vocational day" visit to Infosys

Today, February 26, we visited the Infosys campus on the outskirts of Bangalore. It's a magnificant, beautiful setting of 50 buildings set on 82 acres. The landscaping made me feel like I was in Hawaii - complete with a banana tree!
Some factoids about Infosys:
1981 - company started with $250
1992 - first US office opened in Boston
1993 - Infosys went public
1996 - Infosys Foundation created
1999 - listed on NASDAQ
2004 - $1 billion in revenue
2006 - $2 billion in revenue
2008 - $4 billion in revenue
103,000 employees worldwide; 22,000 of them in Bangalore

Woodcarving for the front entryway?!

While shopping yesterday, I found this magnificant sandlewood carving. Personally, I think it would look great in our front entryway at home but I feel I should ask Anne for her opinion, too.
I'll let you know what my wife decides; I wonder how I could get it on the plane?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dinner with the Mandelia family

I enjoyed my first dinner last night with "J K" Mandelia, his wife "Indu" and their son, Akshay. They are vegans so we'll be eating a lot of rice, noodles, vegetables, etc. They are a very kind family and eager to make me feel at home. J K and I walked over to St. Mark's cathedral for the Ash Wednesday service before dinner. Earlier in the afternoon, J K and I went shopping nearby; I was quite successful at the "Central" shopping mall.

Care package for Raj

On Wednesday, February 25, I went with my new Rotary homestay host, J K Mandelia, to bring a care package to Backiaraj and his brother, Pappiyan. However, we discovered that these boys live 400 kilometers from Bangalore so we could only hand over the care package and the lady said that she would have them delivered to Raj.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ramni's cooking spices

Vanessa - look at Ramni's spices! I have been enjoying the spicy Indian food!

First homestay couple, Hari & Ramni Iyer

Here you see Harihar "Hari" Viswanath and Ramni Iyer. I have really enjoyed my first homestay with them. Hari is a retired engineer for Siemens and Ramni is a retired teacher.

Rotary service projects in Bangalore

After visiting the hospice center on Tuesday morning, our group continued on to a vocational training school. At risk teens learn practical and valuable skills in 90 days courses to find a job in electronics, sewing, beauty parlor care, computers, etc. Two brothers run the school.

The Rotary Bangalore Indiranagar club is also a big financial supporter of this school.

Rotary cancer hospice project in Bangalore

On Tuesday, February 24, my GSE team and I visited the cancer hospice center in Bangalore. The Indiranagar Rotary club is a major supporter of this facility. They focus on giving comfortable and dignified palliative care in the 10 year old facility. It was a very peaceful place with gardens, water fountains and some Catholic sisters and nurses tending to the patients.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Rotary Club of Bangalore

On Monday evening, our GSE team visited the district's largest and oldest club, the "Rotary Club of Bangalore." This year, their club celebrates its 75th anniversary. The 200 plus members meet weekly in their own Rotary clubhouse. The Rotary "4 way test" is etched in stone on the wall at the outside entrance. We gave our shortened and improved team presentation for the second time.

Faces in Bangalore on Monday, February 23

As Hari led my GSE team and me through a botanical garden, I noticed these excited school kids from the Kerala region of southwest India. When I asked to take their picture, they jumped up from the sidewalk and became an enthusiastic swarm of kids!

These pretty young women helped me find some beautiful souvenirs at the Silk Emporium store aka a state-owned store with fixed prices. That's good news, Anne!