Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pictures from a day in the field!

Yesterday we went out to the field to observe the operations of the MFI we are working with. I saw these cute kids coming from school and had to take a picture! After I took this I showed them their picture on my camera and they just loved it, I don't think they have seen a digital camera before.

We met with borrowers that had businesses ranging from a hair salon to chair rentals to chicken broilers (I never thought I would see a small room with 1000 - not exagerating- chickens!

Sad story...

I've gotten quite fond of our taxi driver, Bashir. He has been shuttling us back and forth to our offices daily and yesterday took us all around as we did our field visits. This morning Bashir shared some bad news with us. He had been in the hospital all night with his five month old baby. His son had pneumonia AND malaria. It made me so sad as the likelihood of a baby in the US being faced with those two diseases at the same time I imagine are very small. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will be ok.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One night in Dubai...

Friday night I had a very quick stop over in Dubai. We (my colleague and I) arrived around 10pm, and left at 10am. Nevertheless, we were able to see some cool sights. The sail shaped building is a hotel called: "Burj al Arab"- Tower of the Arabs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bangalore Office

I thought I would take a pic of the Bangalore office today. Since I will be focusing on East Africa I don't know when I will be back again - which is sad. I think I have been to India 7 times during my 2 year tenure at Unitus, quite a bit! I leave tomorrow night (Friday) for Tanzania via a one night stopover in Dubai. I am hoping that I can see a little bit of the city - but I only have 13 hours!!

Babloo, the astrologist

Tonight I visited my friend Babloo, the astrologist. He is located on Infantry Road at the Cottage Crafts Emporium. He gave me a very insightful reading and helped me pick out meaningful and beautiful rings for my friends...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Today a group of my colleagues (all democrats - no surprise) gathered at the Chancery Hotel in Bangalore to cheer Obama on and watch the election returns. It is the first time, and probably the last time that I will:

a) watch election returns at 9:30 am!!!

b) watch election returns poolside

c) watch election returns on another continent, although I guess you never know!!

The shirts say, "Vote from" on the back and "Democrats Abroad India"- (and of course "Obamea '08"). Needless to say, we are thrilled with the outcome!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Karnataka!

Last night was Karnataka's, the state which the city of Bangalore is in, birthday. There were several firework shows (think 4th of July) as well as a parade. This picture isn't that good (it is hard to take pictures of fireworks) so no, that isn't a planet, it is actually fireworks.
There was also a procession going right past our hotel. Again not a great picture, but it gives the general idea. There were drummers, fireworks being shot off right in the street, replicas of various Hindu gods, etc. It was another LOUD night in Bangalore.

Its a bird, its a plane, its a BALD EAGLE????

Yes, I believe this is a bald eagle that I saw circling above our hotel, smack in the middle of Bangalore! Is that crazy or what?

Friday, October 31, 2008

India Images

Tonight I had a lovely dinner with my coworkers at Olive Branch. It is an oasis from all the craziness of the city, I almost felt like I was back in Tuscany!
On my walk home I saw this familiar logo, but upon a closer you look you can see the difference to what we are used to at home!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coffee Day: So close, yet so very, very far...

Coffee day across the street:
Oncoming traffic:
Every day I am faced with a life changing decision, should I get a coffee at Coffee Day (the Starbucks of India)? The decision is made that much harder as for some reason I allow myself to have the "Tropical Iceburg" which is the equivalent of a frappacino, with probably twice the fat. I usually overcome this by coercing one of my coworkers to take me (and yes, I hold their hand while crossing!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Purple haze

Purple has arrived! I have never seen so much purple fashion - every store display is purple, purple, purple. I love it! I am clearly fashion-forward as purple has always been my favorite color! :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Italian Wedding

Hien and I just returned to Milano; it was a beautiful drive from Bagni du Lucca, the village where the wedding was. AND we didn't even get lost with me navigating!
In true Italian fashion the wedding went from 3pm to 5:30am! (I rolled home at 2:30am and Hien of course stayed until the bitter end). The town has only ~10,000 people, so everyone in the village had heard about the "foreigner" wedding, the first one ever. The bride and groom live in Dubai, but are Irish/Australian. As you can imagine, it was a fun group; I am looking forward to going to Dubai and meeting up with my new buddies!

Stimulating the economy!

Hien and I did our part in helping the global economy through some major shopping at the largest mall in Europe, Saravelle. Perfect rainy day activity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Casting my vote

Hien, Heather and I made sure to cast our absentee ballot... I am keeping my fingers crossed (Obama 2008!) and will get up very early to watch the returns in India.

At the airport now - flight is in one hour!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Packing and procrastinating...

I started packing tonight and decided that I better wait until tomorrow, or maybe Wednesday... After all, I'll know more about the weather forecast then. I always end up packing last minute and forgetting stuff, which provides an excellent excuse for shopping...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Countdown to Italy, India and Tanzania!!!

Six shots later and I am fully inoculated and ready for a whirlwind trip to Italy, India and Tanzania! In Italy I will accompany one of my best friends to a wedding in Bagni di Lucca, a small village in Tuscany. It is described as a "charming little Spa town, nestling in the green valley of the river Lima at the foot of the Apennines, which lie between Tuscany and Emilia." Sounds pretty great to me!

Following Italy I will make my way to Bangalore, India to meet with my Unitus colleagues and team for a week and a half. I am looking forward to a still TBD weekend trip in which I hope to see some of the more rural areas of India.

I will continue on to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to meet an MFI and provide them with strategic and operational consulting. They sound like an amazing organization and it will be a great opportunity for me to learn about the challenges of microfinance in East Africa. And I of course can't wait for my first visit to Africa, although it will just be for a short six days. I travel to Dar via Dubai - so I hope to be able to see some of that city as well.

I have never done a blog before, but I thought it would be fun to take you along with me on this fun adventure!