We had 3 meetings today, and it was pretty much one meeting after the next. It doesn’t seem like it should take up the whole day, but things move at a different pace here. After breakfast, our driver took us to the first appointment, CARE India, where we talked to Mr. Jeet Singh for over 2 hours. He told us about some of CARE’s programs and vulnerable areas in UP, such as the part of the state bordered by Nepal where flash flooding is a problem, and arsenic in the water in the eastern & western parts of the state. Many of the things he mentioned seem to be common themes we’ve heard from other people we’ve talked to, like the importance of providing sanitation & hygiene education to children because they are agents of change, and they carry those practices back to their families & communities. And the best way to do that is to work with children in the public schools, which is what Water For People (WFP) did in their model in West Bengal.
Next was a meeting with an NGO that our hotel business manager arranged – ANKUR, an organization that works to mobilize rural communities. We met with 2 women & a man (one of the women spoke English very well, and she did all of the talking) who gave us some literature on water & sanitation projects they’ve worked on, and gave us some contacts at the Department of Education, which they said should be the first government agency to work with for programs in the public schools.
Finally, we went to the BORA Institute of Management Sciences, another visit arranged by the business manager. The Executive Director, a Mr. Vidyasagar, had his class of about 20 MBA students waiting in a classroom, and he wanted Jim & I to talk to his class of MBA students to give a little background on WFP, explain the purpose of our trip, and our approach. Anyone that knows me well knows that public speaking is not my cup of “chai”. Jim talked about WFP, and Mr. Vidyasagar wanted me to talk about why I was involved with the project, so I told the students about my background, and how I am from India but have lived most of my life in the States, and that this trip for ITT Watermark & WFP was a wonderful opportunity for me to do something positive in my native country.
The MBA students at the BORA Institute of Management Sciences.
Once again, we had a late dinner. We picked a place out of Jim’s guidebook which wasn’t too far from the hotel. The place offers Lucknow specialties, but since I’m not from UP, I didn’t know what most of the items on the menu were. This was a vegetarian restaurant, so we figured everything was safe. At other places, mutton (we think) is either lamb or goat, and chicken is also an option ; no beef of course. Jim’s selections always seem to come in a little kettle (purely by accident), and I wasn’t sure what my items were, but we ate them anyway. Both of ours meals, including bottled water, came to 245 rupees, which is about 6 US dollars (a couple of nights ago we went to a very nice 5-star restaurant on the top floor of a fancy hotel, and that tab was about 15 US dollars). We even had double-scoop mango ice cream "cons", for about 1 US dollar (the "Chip Chocolate" was tempting though).
The ice cream counter at the local restaurant we went to. Guess they didn't run the spell-check.
It was another long day. We have one appointment tomorrow at the Institute of Toxicological Research, but we will have the rest of the weekend to catch up on our notes from yesterday & today. Maybe even do a little shopping & see some of the city.