Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kazu's birthday - an auspicious day!

Tuesday was Kazu's birthday! We were picked up by our customer at 10am (In India they tend to start late as they follow the US & European time zones for business meetings) and on the way experienced what happens when there is a train crossing the road.  Basically everyone jams in as close together as possible and once the train leaves there is a mad rush to see who can get through the pile-up first.

We were at the office no later than 10:30 as it is very close to our hotel.  Mr. Sanjay arrived with a beautiful bouquet of roses for Kazu.

Tej, Kazu and Mr. Sanjay
The three of us spent time working on our project, Kazu focusing on growth strategy as well as survey questions for the students of Swabhimaan schools, Eduardo was working on the mock-up of the website and social media sites he will be proposing to Swabhimaan and I was researching curriculum, codes of conduct, scheduling our meeting with the Pratham NGO and preparing my survey questions for the teachers and parents of the students of Swabhimaan schools.  Kazu and I ate a quick lunch of pasta before heading over to the school to perform our interviews.  We had the choice of the Red Pasta or the White Pasta.  Because Kazu has some difficulty with the spice, I 'took one for the team' and chose the Red one and WOW, it was the spiciest thing I have had in India so far!  We also had some American chips for a snack!

At just after 1pm, Kazu and I were driven to the Swabhimaan school and started our interviews.  It was really interesting to hear the thoughts and concerns of the students mothers and the teachers and so wonderful to here the aspirations and joys of the children.  And although the environmental conditions are very different between here and the US, I could see the similarity in the love and concern for their children in the mothers eyes.  I have attached a few photos of Kazu and I during the afternoon at the school.

Interview with the students, some questions were hard and had to be translated into Hindi and back into English by our friend and Intern Sameer, but in many cases the three girls we were interviewing could answer in English.

Mr. Sanjay's drive in the suit in the back, next to the headmaster (volunteer) in the red sweater, one of the teachers in the pink scarf and black sweater.

Interviewing the well educated and dedicated volunteer headmaster of this school.

One of the three mothers we interviewed.  They want nothing but a hygienic and safe learning environment for their children, where they will hopefully gain an education that will get them further ahead in life then they have experienced themselves.
Proud mother and daughter.  They came all the way back to school so that the daughter could have her picture taken by us.

They love their photos!! Kazu is showing them some of the pictures he had taken so far.

Interviewing one of the pre-K/Kindergarten teachers

And of course a group photo!!

We were also able to see the Hindi version of the paper we were published in.
He was SO excited to see his picture with us in the paper!

After Kazu and I finished our interviews Vishwas invited us to try a delicious sugary chapati with pickles and a sweet rice, apparently it is a family tradition that is only performed during auspicous times of the year and it just so happened to be that day - yumm!  We then headed back to the office to finish our work, but Vishwas surprised us with a birthday cake for Kazu, so after signing Happy Birthday we learned a new birthday tradition...each guest gets to feed the birthday boy or girl a piece of the cake, it was a lot of fun!  Also, Tej' family joined us and brought Kazu a really nice card.  We were able to squeeze another couple of hours of work in as we have so much to do, in fact we were able to finalize the meeting with Pratham for Wednesday - YAY!

Kazu with Tej and his family                                                                       

We ended the evening with a delicious dinner at Mr. Sanjay's house.  The PAU team was able to join us as Mr. Sanjay's son is studying IT and wanted to pose questions to our resident IT experts.  Getting to Mr. Sanjay's house was a fun adventure!

We started our dinner affair with cake as an appetizer.  We again got to go through the awesome Indian tradition of each guest feeding the birthday boy/girl cake!!

We then moved to the upstairs dining hall for dinner, what a feast!  And for dinner we had another cake, but this was homemade by Sanjay's daughter and we also had Keer, which all was delicious!

In between dinner and desert Sanjay's wife, Kanika, showed me their beautiful home temple.

 We ended the evening with a henna artist painting my hands! The design was so beautiful, but wow it is a lot of must let it dry for some time and then you add a honey lemon mixture on the top.  Then you cannot use your hands for almost 12 you can imagine how getting ready for bed was like!  We didn't get back until half past was a long, but wonderful day!
Freshly painted

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