Donnerstag, 5. September 2013

"...time to say goodbye..."

...this is incredible! Our time in Jamnagar is over now. The airport shuttle will pick us up at in 3 hours - back to Mumbai. Amazing how fast the time went. But on the other hand, I feel like I spent more than four weeks here, since so many things have happened.
Yesterday we had a really eventful last day at Essar's. We went to one of our pilot schools and did some wall paintings, including the latin alphabet. This was really fun!!!
Ok - we had some help with the lines :-)

Paula painting a butterfly

short interruption for the picture

For the children it was also spectacular seeing the western people sitting on the floor painting

I'm trying my best - but it's not as easy as it seems to be!
Ready!!!! (Well - this is the reason why none of us became an artist)

 Since it was also Diti's birthday, we had a birthday & fare-well lunch at the oil club.
I had to honor to give diti our present - a bracelet 
So I need to say good-bye now...Thank you to all of you who were interested in reading my blog during the last 4 weeks! I really enjoyed getting your Emails with feedback and additional questions. Of course, there are so many more things I didn't blog about - but I really wanna share with all of you back home.
I need to say, this experience here has given me more back than I could have given to the program!

20 ibmcsc india

Mittwoch, 4. September 2013

BIG DAY: Final presentation

Presentation of our recommendations

Today the Essar project team visited us at the hotel for our final presentation and our recommendations based on the data we assessed.
Given the facts of the current environment (like curriculum set by the government, no majored English teachers, lack of community support, etc) we defined more than 40 ideas in different categories what could be done to improve the English education. And even though not all of them fit for each school and not all of them can be implemented at once, our customer is really optimistic this could be the beginning of a major change in the level of English education through the next couple of years.

Paula in action
Elyse speaking to the audience

Nina presenting

Gica explaining

Intentness to our presentation
So in the retrospection I need to say, this time here was one of the most intense experiences in my life. I am so thankful for getting the chance to participate in this program and to meet these great people, who welcomed me with warmth and hospitality. Right now I'd say, the project gave me more on a personal level than I could have contributed to the program...


20 ibmcsc india

Dienstag, 3. September 2013

Finalization of report & presentation

Today we finally brought our report to the next copy shop and finalized the presentation. Incredible how fast the time has gone. So tomorrow will be our big day when we present our results to the customer, our colleagues and the other clients.
To stay in the traditional way, we'll probably dress-up in our traditional clothes again. 

Another thing I wanted to mention is our recent press release:

20 ibmcsc india

Montag, 2. September 2013

Visit the Essar Jetty

Essar Oil Jetty
Today we started in our last week here. Each team is busy with the final presentations and the reports. Since we have been so hard-working on Sunday - we had the time this afternoon to visit the Essar jetty. This is the transition point for all imports and exports. Very impressing how much mechanical equipment is used and how ling the pipelines are - to get the crude oil to the refinery and back.

Our team again :-)

Tomorrow is supposed to be our last working day - before we'll present our final results on wednesday.

20 ibmcsc india

Sonntag, 1. September 2013

Last Sunday in Jamnagar

Tomorrow we'll start in our last week here in Jamnagar. Since the team presentations will take probably 1 1/2 days and our flight back to Mumbai is already on Friday, we took the time today to work on our final presentations.
And while we were sitting at our common room doing some work, Girish and his team entered and gave us some presents "with best compliments from Hotel Aram" :-) So we won't forget this place anymore...for sure we wouldn't have done so anyway.

20 ibmcsc india

Samstag, 31. August 2013

SHOPPING again and again & again....followed by reception @ Essar Oil Club

It's so hard...I just cannot resist on buying some nice clothes or jewellery. Yesterday night we went directly to a jewellery to buy anklets. Indian women are wearing these on both feed all the time. Some of them have little vibrating bells on it, so you could hear them at each step. Really nice... I shared one with Claudia and each of us has now one to wear in combination with our Kurtas and Saris.

This morning we went again to the market and I went for another 3 scarfs...these clothes here are so beautiful - I guess I will never ever meet my 15kg package weight anymore. We also bought some Bindi, the dots you can glue on the forehead.
Mamtha (IBM colleague from Bangalore, responsible for Business development) came back for today's reception at the Essar Oil Club. So in the afternoon she helped Paula and me to wrap our Saris before going to the Oil Club.

Not so easy...

...but with the expert guidance... worked out pretty well!

At the reception the Essar foundation honored their volunteers who attended the program in the last year. Everybody of our team had also to do a short speech about where we are from and what experiences we made.

We have been specially honored

Video recording about our project
The whole event was followed by a great indian buffet - delicious!

20ibmcsc india

Freitag, 30. August 2013

Essar Health Center & meet parents

That the Essar foundation is doing great things for the governmental education throughout the villages around their plant, is already known. Today this got another new dimension: their Health Care Center. 
The Essar Health Care Center
 Since the availability of medical advises in the villages is very limited, Essar runs a Health Care Center where all people get free medical care. There are doctors and nurses available as well as all kinds of medications. For emergencies there is also an ambulance vehicle which could bring the people to the next hospital.
Besides our visit to their facilities, we met some parents there and had the chance to interview them regarding (English) education.

 The traditional understanding of finding the right partner, getting married and starting a family is still predominant. While learning a profession has less priority. So this is another important topic we need to keep in mind when writing our recommendations.

The day ended with a social dinner
non-koriander dish - love it!!!!

and the legendary rikshaw ride.
I for sure will miss it...

...and the others probably too :-)
20 ibmcsc india

Donnerstag, 29. August 2013

Happy Birthday: Anton!

Today was basically a very intense working day at the hotel. We did a lot of research and tried to specify the program and its initiatives we recommend for the two pilot schools we selected. The selection is mainly based on the teacher's level of English, the general (teacher, children, principal) motivation to improve their English and the existing infrastructure.
At the first step, there will be just two pilot schools for one year - but the expansion won't get lost on track.

Today is also Anton's 31st Birthday. The best reason to surprise him with a nice party at the common room. The only wish he had for us was: Meat for dinner!!! :-)
So we organized the delivery of meat dishes from a restaurant, girish organized an indian decoration of the room - and party got started :-)

Slice the birthday cake
PARTY!!!! :-)

Happy Birthday Anton!
20 ibmcsc india

Mittwoch, 28. August 2013

light bulb moment: sanskrit

Today was a very focused working day in our project office at Essar's.

One important fact I didn't know so far is that English is really the fourth language indian school children learn. Of course - a lot of people said so before, but I always thought, "sanskrit" is more focused on notation teaching - but that's not true! Sanskrit is the primary liturgical language of hindi and all other regional indian languages. Like Latin for all indo-germanic languages.
So that means, these children are learning 4 languages simultaneously from the 5th to the 8th grade and higher. Wow...
A fact, which makes it even more important to consider any options about activity-based learning and alternative teaching methods, and to support the language teachers to improve their on language skills.

Today also a new "welcome graphic" at the Essar entrance hall was made - this time with colored sand instead of rice. Always impressing...:-)

double precision required :-)
each sand grain is in place

20 ibmcsc india

Dienstag, 27. August 2013

Essar refinery visit and meeting with the district's education officer

After a constructive discussion about our ideas, which objectives they face and how we further should work on them, we were able to visit Essar's oil refinery. We have been to the laboratories, their control center and drove through the storage area where their final products are stored. In accordance to all security guidelines, everybody had to wear a helmet and safety shoes.

...better be safe... :-)

IBMers wearing security helmets

 After this impressing journey we had a meeting with the district's education officer. He is responsible for more than 1700 schools throughout the Jamnagar area. This meeting gave us an overview about what is centrally given by the government and what can be done by the district itself, respectively the extent of flexibility which is given. 
He assured that he reflects our findings and recommendations to his next hierarchical level. 

Meeting with the district's education officer
Tomorrow is a day where first meetings with the parents are supposed to take place.

20 ibmcsc india

Montag, 26. August 2013

3rd week started with a hotel working day

Since it takes us every day 2 hours of travel to go to Essar's and back, we decided to spend another day in the hotel to work very focused on our data analysis and first ideas for the solution.

Concentrated work session

So what we basically did so far is:
we tried to figure out which assessment dimensions are relevant for the children's level of English. Apart from the teacher's level of english there are some infrastructural reasons,  general "vibe" of the school and how supportive the community/the village is. Also the role of the principal and the parents is important. A bit
challenging is the bias we got, when interviewees told us they they have a 100%-solution on all dimensions.
But of course, we will handle that. We already brainstormed some good ideas like internships, university partnerships, new methods in teaching and ways of visual informal exposure in the classrooms.

Tomorrow will be a special day, cause our colleagues from the Essar foundation team organized us a guided tour through the oil refinery. I'm really looking forward...

Sonntag, 25. August 2013

Relaxing Sunday

Today was a relaxing day...after all the school visits and the travelling - a pleasure. So I took the time to go to the tailor again to pick up my Sari.
MY Sari :-)
So I'm really looking to wear it on August 31st, when a reception at Essar's will take place.

20 ibmbcsc india

Samstag, 24. August 2013

Dwarakadheesh Temple

Temple for Shiva
 Today we went in a small group of four colleagues to Dwarka, the city where the famous dwarakadheesh temple is located. Unfortunately it is not possible to take cameras inside - so therefore just some impressions from the outside:

Nina, myself, Paula, Gica
It's homepage says: "...Dwarkadish is one of the most holy pilgrimage sites called the Chardham of Hindu faith and is dedicated to Lord Krishna's life".
We had very good guide there who kindly introduced us to the hindu way of worshipping. A special part for that is the exchange of the flag at the highest point of the temple five times per day. There are only 5 families who are allowed to change the flag. Anybody who wants to sponsor a new flag can do so - but the next free slot for sponsoring is already in 2016 (!).
yellow/white flag when we left

Colourful striped flag when we arrived

In the afternoon we went to bay dwarka, a little island close to Dwarka city, to visit another temple. The way to get there was a little boat - which obviously got bigger and bigger :-) I haven't seen so many people on the same boat so far...

Luckily we got a seat...

...other people had to stand
camel shepherd 

 On our way we were able to see a lot of other interesting things, here are some impressions:
Women selling spices at the market
Naan bread supply for everybody

Rubber tire as roofing material
20 ibmcsc india