Today I had a third prep call for my India trip – and I think it is becoming a bit more real. As opposed to my Morocco trip 2 years ago, this one is a bit light on preparation – so we only had 3 calls and are leaving tomorrow! Our team is made up of 6 IBMers from US, Australia, UK and Japan – so a pretty first world country team, wouldn’t you say?
We will be working with the city of Allahabad on their waste management plan. I have been doing lots of reading on solid waste management practices in the developing world – and in 2 words “stunningly primitive”. As I read the SOW, my jaw literally dropped – here is why:
- most of trash is collected door to door (over 50%) so rickshaws and door to door collectors
- 500 metric tons of trash is generated daily in the city
- the citizens are not very engaged or willing to pay for any waste collection
- the largest religious festival in the world, Kumbh Mela attracts 100 million people to the area (!!! – can you imagine any world city hosting that many people?? this was shocking) – how does one manage flow of these people and the sanitation, waste management and hygiene – this was a big WOW moment !
I am sure that I will have more to tell you when I get there and actually see it. Right now, I am in the midst of packing, travel rebooking and managing all the departure events, including Brian’s birthday!! My airline experience has been a nightmare this time around:
- My local flight has been changed (moved 9 hours later or earlier) three times ! This is rather difficult when you are scheduled to be on a flight and you are not even in the country yet – or you get to miss the only direct flight to the city you need to go to
- My comfort prepaid seats keep disappearing as tickets change – so at this point, I have no clue if I even have a seat – b/c noone at KLM can see anything on a flight that leaves in 48 hours – agggh!!
However, I bought a selfie stick so I can talk to the kids often – and record videos daily…… hallelujah for What’s App and Skype 🙂 – we were practicing this weekend too.