A Travellerspoint blog

August 2007

Technical Difficulties

An Appropriate Introduction to India

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I apologize for this all-too-lengthy delay in updating my blog; especially since I know you are all breathlessly awaiting each installment. The reason I have been unable to write recently is simply that I have had no internet access. Laura and I are now in Mumbai, and our office does not have internet. We were issued data cards, by which we can access the internet via mobile phone signals, but the ones we were given were slightly deficient, to put it nicely. However, we have now procured functioning data cards, the internet has been restored, and you can all relax knowing that you will again be able to enjoy the sublime intricacies of my prose.

But on a serious note, these few days without internet has also given me a backlog of work which, shockingly, takes precedence over updating my blog. So a full update will be forthcoming, presumably this weekend, and until then thank you for your patience.

And now that the serious note is over, I have a question for all of you. I am shocked and appalled at the lack of snarky comments left by my loyal readers. Why is this? How come nobody has yet to make fun of me or my writing? I'm looking at you, Derek Mullins, and you, Katie Macelbner.

Posted by djreidy 11:27 Archived in India Comments (5)

The Beginning

An Orientation to CHAI

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CHAI, unfortunately, does not, in this case, refer to the delicious form of Indian tea. Rather it stands for the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative; the organization with which Laura and I will be affiliated for at least the next six months. As for what exactly we will be doing as a part of CHAI, we are still somewhat unsure.

We have been in Delhi, the capital of India, for a full week now. Since our unexpectedly adventurous arrival we have been logging 10 hour days at the office while trying to see the city, meet our co-workers, and get over jet lag in our spare time. We have volunteered to become a part of the pediatric (or paediatric, as they spell it here in this formerly British colony) division of CHAI; a rapidly growing department since children are difficult to diagnose and treat for HIV/AIDS and are thus disproportionately under-treated. Much of our exhaustive work week has been spent meeting with various staff members throughout the pediatric program in an attempt to understand the structure of the organization and what we will be doing. So far it seems as though we will be working extensively in a program to identify more children who are infected with HIV and help them get to the treatment which the Clinton Foundation and the Government of India provide, free of charge. I'll write about how this is done when I actually understand how it is done.

At the end of this upcoming week, Laura and I will depart Delhi for Mumbai (formerly Bombay), where we will be stationed during out tenure. Mumbai is a nice, relaxing, calm town of about 20 million people. That's right 20 million people, which makes it the largest urban area in the entire world. Needless to say, I don't actually expect it to be relaxing or calm. Mumbai is the capital city of the state of Maharashtra, which as a whole clocks in at an astounding 96 million people. If it were its own country it would rank 12th in terms of population, and in terms of landmass it is slightly bigger than Norway and just a hair smaller than Poland. In other words, it's a bit bigger than Rhode Island. Once we arrive there we will be working in the CHAI field office, responsible for the entire state, with a goal of getting several thousand sick children on treatment. The work promises to be challenging and exhausting, and I can only hope it also proves to be rewarding.

Next installment: An Introduction to India

Posted by djreidy 17:46 Archived in India Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Arrival

A Tumultuous Start

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I'm writing to from our hotel in Delhi - it's been quite an adventure since we New York. The flight was fine (albeit long), and Laura and I both managed to do a good bit of sleeping and have read most of Harry Potter. However, when we arrived through customs there was nobody to meet us. After several hours of frantic (unanswered) phone calls and patrolling the welcome area for our driver, we gave up and retreated to a (very nice) hotel. We managed to log on to the internet and found an email from Vishal, our director, asking us where we were since his driver was unable to find us at the airport. Luckily he provided us with his correct cell phone number, and we have now been able to make contact and sort everything out. We still have no idea why we missed the driver who was allegedly at the gate waiting for us, but they will come get us from the hotel in the AM and take us to where we will be staying. All is well now that this has been fixed, and now we are going to bed.

Posted by djreidy 17:39 Archived in India Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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