Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And we're off!

IIT, where it all began. Our opening social event and interviews were held  here on August 12 and 13.
After more than 4 months of planning and preparation, the District 6450 GSE team is departing to Gujarat tonight. We look forward to our arrival and hope you all will continue to follow our blog over the next 4 weeks in India. See you on the other side of the world!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Team Update

We spent last weekend practicing our presentations and doing dry runs for our GSE Coordinator, David Baker. We got a lot of great feedback from David and Prakash. Here are some snapshots from the session:
The group, listening as Jessica gives her presentation.

Prakash and Jessica

Elliot, Dana, David, and Prakash listen as Jessica (off screen) describes potential tweaks to her presentation.

District Governor, David Templin, stopped by to wish us well on our trip. He also came bearing gifts! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Team Update

In late November and early December, the team got together at Prakash's place to take photos in traditional Indian dress. Some of our print materials will include these photos in addition to photos in American attire. Check out the photos of Dana, Jessica, and Ayo below!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Guru, Anupam Mehta

In our meetings leading up to Group Study Exchange, we've had the pleasure of being joined by Mr. Aupam Mehta. Mr. Mehta has been our guru, or teacher, as we've prepared to immerse ourselves in Indian and Gujarati culture. He has taught us traditional greetings and customs, Gujarati salutations and phrases, and led us when singing the National Anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana. He has taught us everything from the phrases we will be including in our print materials to various phrases that will help us communicate with folks throughout the trip. I specifically wanted to know how to say "this food was delicious!", which is "bahu maza aavi". While most , if not all of the people we encounter, will speak English, we hope our use of their language will show our dedication toward making this trip as fruitful as possible.

Mr. Metha, Aabhar!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Team Update

The team's print materials will include a set of interesting facts about Rotary District 6450. Some of the facts we'll include are:
  • Paul Harris, from Chicago, Illinois, started Rotary International in 1905. 
  • Rotary membership has now grown to over 1.2 million members worldwide.
  • There are sixty-three Rotary Clubs in District 6450
  • Rotarians have preserved the original meeting place, room 711 in Chicago’s Unity building, by recreating the office as it existed in 1905.
  • Next Rotary year, District 6450 is planning to send a GSE Team to Nigeria

We'd also like to give a shout out to Erica Egger, who has been invaluable in her help with our pins, business cards, brochures, and thank you cards!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Team Photo

The team met at Elliot's place in early November to take photos for our print materials. The pictures came out great! Here's a photo of the full team (from left to right, Ayo, Jessica, Prakash, Dana, Elliot).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Team Update

December 28 is right around corner and the team has been meeting frequently to make final preparations for the trip. Since our last blog post, we've been meeting at Filter Cafe, our apartments in Chicago, at Prakash's place in Naperville, and holding conference calls and video chats on Skype. This variety and flexibility has been essential in keeping a continuous dialog between team members. After receiving our itineraries, we have been focusing on gifts for host families and Rotary Clubs, taking photos for brochures, and freshening up on some Gujarati! Another update in the next few days will dig into the details of this progress.