Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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Bangalore is a pretty dang sweet city. We visited many different establishments which included mingling with the "MindTree minds" (aka employees), hanging out with dudes at the Microsoft Research center, and wrangling with workers at Wipro. In plain terms we traveled to different technology companies and learned about their business practices. MindTree is a company that participates in BPOs. They receive work from all over the world. Most of their work is outsourced from other places that want MindTree to do the work for cheaper. Wipro is a huge company that focuses on software testing, but they have their hands in all sorts of other things. I think that Microsoft is self explanatory. Overall, Bangalore feels like a completely different country from Chennai. The city is very modern, and is growing at an enormous rate (which is very evident in the traffic and construction sites).

While in Bangalore we had the privilege to stay at Asha Kiran (pictured). Asha Kiran is a special needs school for Indian children. We sure liked it a lot. The kids were all very friendly, and we spent some good quality time playing cricket with them. One day we got to do a service learning project helping out the school. That was legit. There were all sorts of different jobs that we did. We cleaned out a closet, painted a map of India, made some kind of craft out of string for the kids to finish, and painted a ceiling.

The train station. Out of control. Preposterous. When the train pulled up to the station, all the third class passengers stormed the train car, trying to push their way onto car for the best seats. Never before have I seen such an outlandish display of people shoving each other to get a good seat on the train.

Up next was a good solid twenty hour train ride from Bangalore to Pune. The good news is we got to sleep for most of that, the bad news is that sleeping on a train leaves much to be desired. The bunks were a bit rowdy and boisterous with rambunctious behavior due to cabin fever. There were several spottings of mice and cockroaches, but we all handled it with the grace of a swan. No big deal. So in summary, the train ride was ballin'. And we all arrived safely in Pune. Morale is high. The group has molded into one cohesive unit. No injuries or major illnesses to report.

On Sunday we had the opportunity to attend a Methodist Church. Though it was placed in the middle of a city, it was beautiful. The inside of the church was completely lit by the sun. Surprisingly the service was very similar to one back home. A youth band played songs for us, and we sang soothing hymns. The speaker was from Georgia, and he talked about counseling, and how the church needs work on being better counselors. All of this was very interesting, and we learned a lot.

General surprises and things we did not expect...

  1. Litter. Everywhere we go there are mounds of litter all over India. No place is safe. Pollution is also a large concern for the cities because of the massive number of cars and factories.

  2. Kent Jones. This man is amazing. I'd probably describe him as a modern day Indiana Jones. They share the last name, and they share the tenacity. Kent is up every morning, ready to go, full of excitement. I'm pretty sure we'd all be dead in a ditch right now if it weren't for his hand of oversight.

  3. Friendliness. The general mentality of the Indian people is so refreshing. When you walk up to talk to somebody they instantly start treating you as a friend and not an outsider. Though this has not been the case with street vendors who take a bit more of an aggressive position.




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