Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I will be on a field trip to visit the villages we will be working with and won't be back until March 7th or so. We will be traveling to North, Middle and South Andaman and will be having meetings with the stakeholders. This will be a great crash course into the work I'll be doing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Arrival on the Andaman Islands

I arrived early this morning on the Andaman Islands. It is wonderful to be here after so much anticipation. Apam, one of the Project Officers for EHA, toured me about Port Blair on a motorcycle. One of the places we stopped was a beautiful sandy beach with cool blue water, backed by palm trees and lush forest. Not a bad spot for the next 3 years.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More pictures around Kolkata

Lentil vendor, Entally Market

Flower vendor, Entally Market

Vegetable Vendor, Entally Market

Kolkata Traffic, Park Circus

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Few More Days in Kolkata

India is still wonderful and crazy. Sights, smells and sounds are all very intense. Women of all socio-economic levels can be seen wearing brilliantly colored sarees. Boldly colored buildings, rickshaws, temples and signs contrast against graying colonial architecture. Streets overflowing with buckets of marigolds and garlands of flowers contrast against the hardworking hands of those selling them. The sharp smells of spices, incense and Bengali sweets overpower others that are not as savory. Car horns blare and street hawkers yell above the continual hum of a city of 13 million people.

The MCC India staff are wonderful and have been extremely hospitable. Many are out of the office this week but it has been great to get to know those who are around. Along with getting oriented to MCC India I am also getting oriented to Kolkata. Sarah, Julia and the SALTers, Mary and Liz have been walking the streets of Kolkata with me and showing me around. Among many other things I have seen people worshiping in the Hoogly River, walked in the flower market, visited Mother Teresa's mission, multiple churches and Kali Temple, experienced an interactive Museum, eaten wonderful food and the most informative...walked a lot on the streets.

Entrance to MCC India Office

Courtyard and guest house at the MCC Office

Streets of Kolkata

Streets of Kolkata

Interesting architecture

I will have one more day of orientation here in Kolkata. Then on Thursday Sarah, Julia and I will fly down to Chennai, and then drive to Pondicherry (which are on the east coast of south India). We will be visiting a Partner which is having a celebration on the completion of a tsunami project. I will then fly from there to the Andaman Islands.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Arrival in India

I am finally here safe and sound in India! I have been waiting so long for this that it seems a bit surreal that I'm actually here. But from my brief introduction it seems even more crazy and more wonderful then I imagined. We'll have to see if that holds up after I've been in the country for more then 2 hours:)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Leaving Tanzania

My time here in Tanzania is coming to a close. It has been a wonderful time to see my parents, reconnect with childhood friends (who now attend the University of Dar es Salaam), get to know the SST students a little better and enjoy Tanzania before I start my time in India. This rest stop has also allowed me to catch up on some of the time change and adjust to the heat and humidity after coming from a cold Goshen winter.

I leave Tanzania as Presedent Bush arrives with a $300 Million Aid-Package for Tanzania to work at issues of HIV/AIDS and Malaria. While this is an incredible boost to these causes and the infrustucture will barly be able to handle this amound of money, it still pales in comparison to the $30 Billion Millitary Aid-Package that was recently given to Isreal and other similar Military Aid-Packages given to other Middle Eastern countries.
Tanzania is receiving this support in response to it complying with structural adjustment policies including Presedent Kikweti resently accepting the resignation of the Prime Minister and dissolving his cabinet to combat corruption. It will be interesting to see how much of this Aid-Package gets to where it is intended.

Chatting with Emily (an SST student) and Jan (my Mother)
at the University of Dar es Salaam

Reconnecting with Msuke (A childhood friend)

and meeting his friends who attend the University of Dar es Salaam.

I fly out of Dar this afternoon, spend the night in the Dubai airport and arrive in India the next day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Safe Arrival in Tanzania

I left Chicago in a snowstorm two days ago (give or take some time zones) and I am now with my parents in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in humid, 82 degrees F weather. Personaly I like the change. The flights went well and I even got to take the tube into London to see Buckingham Palace and walk around a bit during my layover.
Buckingham Palace

With my parents in Dar es Salaam

After having tea and walking around the neighborhood, here in Dar, we went up to the University to meet the SST students for lunch and a lecture. I am now back with my parents catching up, exchanging stories and fighting jet lag with lots of caffine. It's wonderful to be home again and see my parents before setting off on this three year adventure.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another Drastic Change

After sitting in the Indian Consulate for 3 hours I got my visa! Not only that, but I now have a plane ticket to leave tomorrow evening (Feb 6th). First I'm traveling to Tanzania for a week where I will get to visit with my parents. Then I fly to India on Feb 15th. It's quite a change from expecting to be in Goshen for the next few weeks to leaving tomorrow. However it's a pleasant and welcomed change.

note: With my layovers in London and Dubai I will be in North America, Europe, The Middle East, Africa and Asia in the next week and a half.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Finished Orientation, Back to Goshen

Well, Orientation is over, but I still don't have my visa. So I will be making my way back to Goshen, stopping in Chicago to see if my presence at the Indian Consulate will move the process along. I don't know when my day of departure will be since it depends on factors that are out of my control. However, we are looking at later in February as a possibility.

New MCCers playing Scum after two weeks of Orientation

Those of us going overseas