Day 3 – Sunday 1 March
The Learning Journey officially starts from this date!
I was up early again – I don’t know where all this energy is coming from – I am finding every second valuable and exciting. All my colleagues are now all in Chennai – some have only been here for a few hours – they must be shattered. We have a full day ahead of us – starting with lunch at 12.30 – which I have declined, followed by an important team briefing from the Learning Journey staff members.
I invite BB and her husband, SB to join me for breakfast at the Hotel. SB has long experience of the addiction field too and is involved in the charity which is run by B. We have a very constructive discussion and I learn much from listening to their experiences. I agree to meet with SB later in the trip, but to continue working with BB in the interim on exploring ways that we can continue to be of mutual support.
At 1.30 I attend my first formal meeting of Journey. Our afternoon briefing meeting is thorough – we hear some excellent briefs from the staff team. We agreed some “house rules” Our few days in Chennai look to be sound opportunities for our personal and professional growth. Today we start with an afternoon Heritage Walk in the Centre of Chennai that takes us to Temples, Churches and one of the main Beaches. In the evening we attend our first Dinner in Chennai with some VIP speakers – one of whom is a distinguished Indian senior civil servant and academic. The debate covers wide socio, political and economic policies relating to India. We talk about castes, the dowry system and issues pertaining to class and gender. It was a heavy – but fascinating discussion. The acoustics were poor and I had to concentrate very hard to hear every word spoken – but by the end of the session I was hooked. Outside meetings with lots of background noise from fans inevitably can make hearing difficult – perhaps next time a small portable sound system would help.
I retire to my room on the return to the Hotel. I am still excited at purchasing an Indian Mobile phone. I can – and do telephone friends in the UK – but more importantly ring home. I feel re-connected now – I now have my own phone – woopee! We have found a way to telephone from a UK landline to my mobile for just 2 pence per minute (plus VAT!) If I had been using my UK Mobile the roaming charges would have been scandalous! How is it we can ring from a UK landline an Indian Mobile cheaper than a UK Mobile Phone in the same country?
I am burning the candle at both ends – but what the heck! It is all good fun and I am enjoying the experience so far…. I shall make the most of my visit here to get the best possible outcomes.