INDIA – I’m home!

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Spot me (the orangest face of the whole bunch) sitting in the top middle!

The final week in India was insane! In a final push to get everything done, I spent Sunday-Tuesday with my laptop glued to me, madly trying to finish editing my film. Come Tuesday afternoon, I had finished my project and was ready to show the CEO on Wednesday for the go-ahead to export.

On Wednesday, we met with the CEO and received final feedback on our films. My film is heavily reliant on subtitles, and I only had minor feedback regarding those. Thankfully, this feedback required only easy-fixes, which wouldn’t take me long to complete. On Wednesday night we went to dinner with the entire cohort to BYG Brewsky in Bangalore, a one-year old outdoor Brewery/bar, which was an awesome night. (See pic below)

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On Thursday morning, I added the recommended changes and spent the afternoon packing and enjoying the last day at SOAW. I’m really proud of the film I produced and am so grateful for the skills I have gained throughout the process.

On Friday, we began the day with our final pitch, presenting our final work to the cohort and getting to see what everyone else had produced within the last month. After the pitches, we collected our bags and said goodbye to SOAW. We hopped on a bus and drove to the location for the Holi fight. 40K always throws a Holi fight at the end of the trip, to celebrate our time together. The Holi fight involves throwing coloured chalk at each other, which was very messy, but also great fun!

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After the Holi fight, we made our way to our hotels where we kitted-up in our traditional Indian dress for the final dinner. After about an hour and two failed attempts, I finally managed to assemble my saree. The final dinner was great fun and an awesome opportunity to let our hair down one last time before flying home.

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Overall, my experience in India was fantastic. My time away was definitely far more confronting and challenging than I anticipated, however I learned so much that has helped me grow on both a personal and professional level. The opportunity to intern with a company as renowned as 40K Globe is one I’ll relish forever. Through 40K I was able to meet so many amazing people, from the parents and children living in the villages I visited, to the employees and fellow volunteers, I’m so grateful.

I’m so glad to have returned home safe (tired, but safe) and to have access to the small comforts of everyday life in Australia that I never realised were a factor to be grateful for. My experience with 40K has heightened my perspective in so many ways and has shown me just how effective teamwork can be. Finally, I’m super proud of everything I was able to achieve whilst in India and it feels awesome to know that the film I produced will be used to help attract further funding for 40K to continue implementing change.

Thanks for following along with my journey!

Until next time, that’s this trip update Pinned.
Em.

 

 

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INDIA JOURNAL – Part 7

Day 27 – 14/07

Day twenty-five marked the day of our final pitch. Each week on globe, we pitch to the board our ideas and update them on our progress. Much to our relief, our pitch was well received and our ideas were given the final go-ahead. Although our media team are producing three films and have come up with the vision for each film as a group, we have each taken on one of the three videos to edit individually. I am editing the film concerning authentic stories and I’m happy with my progress so far. After the pitch, I interviewed Tom, who works with 40K in design thinking. Design thinking is essentially, ensuring the product is designed specially to meet the individual needs of the consumer. This process involves several steps surrounding empathy and empathy tools in order to get the best insight into the consumer’s life. The interview went well and will provide some awesome content for my authentic stories film. We then travelled down to Bangalore where we’re spending our final weekend. We went to the Arbor Brewing Company for dinner again (same place we went to dinner before Hampi) and ate a bucket-load. After dinner, we headed to our hotel where I was told there was no record of my booking, despite physically holding the booking reference in front of them. To top it off, the hotel was supposedly also at full capacity, so we had to find somewhere else to spend the night. After about two hours hunting the street and being turned down by a number of hotels, the High Gates said they had room to sleep the five of us and were able to give us a conjoining room. Although the night was a hassle and was chaotic, it turned out really well and High Gates is far nicer than our initial hotel anyway. After a looooong day, we hit the sack and braced for a big day of shopping tomorrow!

Day twenty-six started later than usual YAY. Our hotel breakfast ended at 10am, so we slept in and headed down for breaky at 9.30am. It was super nice to get to lay in bed until 9am, but after waking up for 7am everyday religiously for the past month, my body wouldn’t sleep so I spent the morning reading. It was awesome to have some down time and the breaky was better than we expected. After breaky, we headed down to Starbucks where I was named “Amma” nailed it. From Starbucks we ordered an Uber into Commercial Street where we spent the day browsing through the markets. In commercial street I bought a traditional Indian Sari for the final dinner (obligatory Indian attire). We headed to dinner at a restaurant called Millers46 which was okay, but it was overpriced and given we’re all running low on cash, it wasn’t ideal. We then went back to our hotel via Baskin Robins, before a relatively early night (make the most of the hotel’s COMFY beds).

Day twenty-seven began as IDEAL! We slept in until 9 before getting up to go to our hotel’s free breaky. At breaky I feasted on pancakes and omlette before a quick Starbucks run where today it got better…today I was “Hamma”, close enough, right? After Starbucks, we went bac to the hotel and napped until 12.30 before check-out at 1pm. Feeling SUPER rested, we caught a rickshaw into commercial street so Kieran could get his traditional Indian outfit for the final dinner. We had an early dinner at Misu which was delicious. I had Pad Thai and dumplings and would totally return again…10/10 meal. After dinner, the nine of us called Ubers and travelled back to SOAW. Ready for the final week and on the home stretch! Just 7 days until I touch down in Sydney!

Until next time, that’s this trip update Pinned.
Em.

INDIA JOURNAL – Part 6

Day 24 – 11/07

Disclaimer: This week was really difficult, so these posts aren’t exactly joyful. However, as difficult as week 3 has been, it’s helped me grow even more and made me evermore grateful for the life I have back home.

Day twenty we spent in the village trying to complete our filming. We had a big checklist of things to complete but unfortunately the informal interview with our facilitator Anusha was the only task we managed to complete.  We all found it quite disappointing to have had another relatively unsuccessful day and spent the night rearranging our week and storyboards to adapt to new plans. Also, I think we all had a bit of weekend withdrawal having come off such a relaxing few days in Hampi, but we’re hopeful that tomorrow will go better to plan.

Day twenty-one began with individual editing workshops. After a quick run-through of Premier-Pro, we headed out to the village to get the filmed interview with Anusha. In a very frustrating turn of events, there was miscommunication with Anusha and she didn’t have time to film an interview with us, so our day was a waste yet again and we headed back to SOAW. Despite not feeling like it, in the night time our group headed into Bangalore for dinner. We found a place called ‘Wranglers’, a brewery where we had delicious food and a really good night. A fun time was definitely hat our team needed to perk up our mood.

Day twenty-three started with absolute disaster and saw our team hit rock bottom. We woke up to find out that we had to pitch our ideas to the CEO of 40K and we had 30 minutes’ notice. Super overwhelmed, our team put together an update for our project. Danielle volunteered to travel down to Bangalore for the pitch while Harry and I headed out to the village to try once again to film Anusha for the interview. One win for the day was that we managed to successfully film Anusha and gather the content we needed in the village. When we returned to SOAW, we found out that the CEO wants us to change our funding video YET AGAIN! Her idea was brilliant, but it’s super intimidating to receive a change of direction when we only have 8 days left in the program. The day ended with a rooftop dinner for the entire cohort. It was a nice night but it’s safe to say that our team was NOT in the mood. To end on a positive note, today I managed to get the editing software onto my laptop, so tomorrow I’ll be able to start piecing my film together!

Day twenty-four began with a more positive attitude. Our team came into today knowing exactly what we had to get done and knew we would be able to do it all. I managed to get the intro of my film completed and its super exciting to see my vision come to life. As terrible as this week has been, I can see the end of the program getting closer and I am looking forward to what I’ll have achieved. Also, we start our final weekend tomorrow night so I am excited to relax after a week of chaos. I am staying in Bangalore this weekend for something low-key and easy. We plan to spend the weekend, sleeping, eating and shopping – my idea of a damn good time.

Until next time, that’s this trip update Pinned.
Em.

INDIA JOURNAL – Part 5

Day 19 – 08/07/18

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Temple-hopping in Hampi 

Day seventeen started early, because day sixteen never really ended. The overnight bus trip to Hampi took about ten hours and plot twist…the road is barely surfaced so it was one hell of a bumpy ride. Hampi is incredible – it looks like a movie set where the crew just picked up and took off, leaving all of their props to create the scenery. Hampi is surrounded by huge mountains made of rocks balancing on each other (see below pics).

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We arrived in Hampi around 7am and headed straight to the hotel/complex where we were staying (Mowgli guesthouse). Our rooms weren’t ready yet, but we were able to sit in the dining area and have breaky where we overlooked the rice patties. In the ‘on season’ (October-January), Hampi’s walkways are lined with stalls however we visited in the wet season, so no stalls were really open. Although this meant Hampi was really peaceful, we were really looking forward to the markets. After finding our rooms and heading down the road for lunch, we spent the afternoon napping and enjoying the serenity (sounds lame but after a hectic work week we were more than happy to chill out for a while).

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View from Mowgli’s dining area at sunset

For dinner we went to a restaurant called ‘Nargila’ and went to ‘Chill lounge’ for desert. At chill lounge, they had live entertainment where a band played bongos and the didgeridoo. It was super fun so we decided we would head there for dinner tomorrow night. Great first day in Hampi!

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Day eighteen began with a sleep in WAHOOO! After an awesome night’s sleep, I had a hot shower *second win for the morning* and headed down to Mowgli’s dining area for a hot coffee and Toast. *win win win*

We then headed to the other side of the river where our bus was waiting and spent the day looking at temples that surround Hampi. The temples were beautiful, but we kept facing having to pay more than ten times the entry fee of a local purely because we were tourists, which we thought was slack and didn’t get to walk through the temples as a result. After a big day temple-hopping, we headed back to Mowgli and prepared for dinner. For dinner we went back to Chill lounge, where they provided us with entertainment again and also made a cake because it was one of the Globers’ birthday. Another awesome day before hitting the sack for another sleep-in in the morning!

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Some of the 40K clan with Chill Lounge’s band

Day nineteen began after another hot shower before checking out of Mowgli. We had an early lunch before crossing the river to look at the markets that opened up for the weekend. I managed to find a few things before we hopped on the bus for the infamous 10-hour trip back to SOAW. It was a very bumpy and long afternoon, but we made it eventually. Hitting the sack rejuvenated and ready for another work-week.

Until next time, that’s this trip update Pinned.
Em.

INDIA JOURNAL – Part 4

Day 16 – 04/07

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Day twelve for our media team was fairly uneventful. We spent the entire day at SOAW planning out our week’s goals and creating empathy tools to aid us in interviews. Although it meant the day dragged on a bit, it was nice to spend a peaceful day at SOAW to re-coup after the weekend and prepare for a big week ahead.

Day thirteen we encountered our first major experience with ‘India time’. ‘India time’ is a term team leaders have used throughout the trip to describe the process of organising things in India. That is, everything always runs late. We arrived in the village with a big checklist of things we wanted to complete. After an informal interview with our PLUS Pod facilitator, we headed to Varalukshmi in the hope of an interview with her. Varalukshmi didn’t have time for an interview because little did we know, she was expecting us for lunch and was busy preparing food. This meant that our next two hours consisted of waiting for lunch and then eating with Varalukshmi. The lunch was tradition Indian ‘Ragi’ balls (a ball of rice mixed with ‘ragi’ which is a spice). We got to eat on Varalukshmi’s rooftop, which was an awesome cultural experience, however it meant our checklist of things to do was slowly getting further and further out of reach. We had scheduled to meet with PLUS parents at 3pm. We waited until 4pm for people to arrive before giving up and packing our stuff away and just as we were leaving, people began showing up. For the next hour, parents slowly showed up for surveys and although this was helpful, being so late meant we were late back to SOAW and only achieved half of our day’s goals. This left team morale at a low and we all felt quite frustrated at the day having it felt like a bit of a waste. However, we spent the night preparing for the following day, with a game plan and a fresh perspective.

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The team setting up for a filmed interview
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The team taking notes during an informal interview

Day fourteen was a welcomed new day from our team. After the previous day not going to plan, we were a bit shaken but also more determined to smash it out today. We spent the morning planning and headed to the village around 12pm. Thankfully, we were able to head straight to Varalukshmi and film an interview with her, which was a big relief. The afternoon continued to be a success, with us gathering a lot of useful content. After a huge day, we headed back to SOAW feeling super relieved.

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On day fifteen we began the day planning again by going over our interview and content from day fourteen, as well as preparing all of our interview questions for our facilitator Mala. Although we were prepared, as a team we became collectively overwhelmed and hit a bit of a rut. We were able to complete the interview although our facilitator felt quite uncomfortable in front of the camera, which impacted the results of the interview a fair bit. We got a good amount of our list for the day completed, but after feeling very overwhelmed and being super tired, we were all feeling a bit down. In the evening, we had a board meeting with the head of 40K who was able to answer any questions. The meeting was very insightful and we found out that we were heading in the complete wrong direction for one of our films. Taking on the feedback from the board, we were able to re-work our idea for our funding film to create something that will effectively target our correct audience in order to create the most impact.

Day sixteen began bright and early to plan our second pitch. This pitch is an update for how our team is going and to re-confirm our ideas for each film. The pitch went really well and the board loved our ideas which was a real confidence boost. We’re now just tidying up loose ends before heading down to Bangalore for the afternoon. We’re going to have a wander around the shops before dinner at the Arber Brewing Company. After dinner we take an overnight bus to Hampi for the weekend and will return on Saturday night. Ending this post half way through the day and excited for the long weekend!

Until next time, that’s this trip update Pinned.
Em.

INDIA JOURNAL – Part 3

Day 11 – 29/06

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40K Post-scavenger hunt dinner – 29/06

Day 8 we spent the morning brainstorming ideas and confirming the outcomes we wanted for each film. We’re creating 3 films concerning authentic stories, funding and a student’s experience abroad. In the afternoon, we visited the village again except this time, an alternate site to our first day. In the other village we saw Chloe’s team interview a local teacher and the Pod facilitator. Village No.2 was really cool to see and it was also super helpful to see another team conduct an interview. Another awesome day!

Day 9 marked the last day of our first week and meant we presented our first group pitch as well as the 40k scavenger hunt. The pitch went well and was our first major experience of teamwork among our (Harry’s) team. To my surprise, I found myself in charge of the technology side of our presentation and creating the visual appeal. The pitch went well and we all bounced ideas off each other perfectly. We then took a bus down to Bangalore where we had the scavenger hunt which was good fun. We spent the afternoon running around Bangalore doing things like play a game of cricket with locals and see parliament, all while wearing matching ridiculous costumes (See attached image below).

 

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We then went for a group dinner with 40k before heading out for the weekend. We spent the first night of our weekend in Bangalore and stayed the night at backpacker Panda, my first hostel experience. The hostel was nice enough except we had a Dutch man and Indian man in our room which was a bit disruptive, but they both seemed nice and hey, I took on a hostel!

Day 10 was our first full day on our weekend. We got up at around 7am to head to the train station and catch a train to Mysore. To my relief and also dismay, the train experience was completely western, with carpeted seats, air conditioning and bottled water. When we arrived in Mysore, we headed to the hostel (Mansion 1907) to drop our bags before heading out to see the Mysuru Palace and flower markets. We ended the day at High Point, a rotating rooftop bar in Mysore, where it was 300 IRP (about $6 AU) for a buffet dinner…bargain!

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Mysore Palace – 29/06

Day 11 began bright and early, at 4.30am to do the 1000 steps walk (Chamundi Hill Steps). The walk was beautiful although I felt sick from last night’s phenomenal dinner. We then returned to the hostel before heading out to a western café for a big breaky where I had pancakes with maple syrup YASSS. We then headed back to Bangalore on the train and this time we went on the cheapest train to get more of an experience and an experience it was… Little did we know, in India there is an unspoken rule that if you reach through the window of the train and put a piece of your belonging on the seat, you ‘dibs’ it. We didn’t think anything of the handkerchiefs that were on our seats until an Indian lady began yelling at us in Hindi and waving about the handkerchiefs in front of us. When we told her we do not understand and that we only speak English, she walked away STILL yelling. It wasn’t until our next train stop that we noticed people putting their items on seats to ‘save’ them…oops. We spent the afternoon shopping back in Bangalore before returning to SOAW. Its 9pm and I’m off to bed, wrecked after a huge weekend and ready to get going again!

Until next time, that’s this trip update Pinned.
Em.

INDIA JOURNAL – Part 2

Day 7 – 25/06

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Fatehpur Sikri 1/3 – 22/06/18

On day four, we visited Fatehpur Sikri before travelling back to Delhi. The car ride was long and although Fatehpur Sikri was amazing, after seeing the Taj Mahal, nothing really compares and it’s difficult to view anything else as spectacular. The car ride took about four hours and I spent the trip anxious about returning to Delhi. We arrived without a hitch thanks to our awesome driver from Intrepid, Razzar. We spent the night washing clothes that we hung in the bathroom whilst watching Johnny English. We also ordered room service which was delicious and also helped me feel more at ease by having some time to chill out (Stayed @ Hotel Surya, Delhi)

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Fatehpur Sikri 2/3 – 22/06/18
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Fatehpur Sikri 3/3 – 22/06/18

On day five, we were awake at 4am. I had a dilemma with my bank card locking me out, so I was panicking and was on the phone to mum and dad early in the morning trying to sort the situation out. Thankfully, I was able to reset my password and it was not too big of an issue – I couldn’t however, get back to sleep. We flew to Bangalore (landed around 1pm) and headed straight to Hotel Vellara where we were staying the night with other globers. After a quick lunch and meeting up with some of the 40K group, we decided to head to Commercial street, a local marketplace in Bangalore. Unfortunately, about half the way there (a 20-minute walk from our accommodation) is started pouring rain, so we all got drenched. We continued on to the markets though and I found two skirts – one for 250 IRP ($5 AU) and another for 150 IRP ($3 AU), which was INCREDIBILE considering I pay ten times the price at tree of life for the exact same thing! On our way back to the hotel, we had to find an ATM as some of the group needed to withdraw money, but ATM’s in India don’t hold much cash and it took us about 6 ATM’s to find one that actually worked, which meant we were late for the group dinner (Ate @ Double Decker, Bangalore). Wet and tired, we went to dinner. It was a really cool place and we had a good night, except there was a traditional Hookah (smoke lamp/machine/inhaler) and your girl don’t want no tobacco in her system, so despite feeling a bit lame, I passed on the Hookah. We headed home around 10pm where I was met by a cold shower and a hotel room that wreaked of cigarettes (Stayed @ Hotel Vellara, Bangalore).

On day six, we were up around 6am to have breaky and leave the hotel to meet with the entire 40k group. We met with everyone at 9am and then made the 1-hour bus ride up to the School of Ancient Wisdom (SOAW) in Devanahalli. We spent the day listening to different information sessions that detailed the ins and outs of 40k PLUS and what we needed to know for our time ahead. For both lunch and dinner, SOAW provided traditional Indian food so curry on top of curry on top of curry. The food is awesome though, there are very talented chefs at SOAW. The story behind SOAW is actually really sweet. A man’s wife always dreamed of creating a sanctuary for yoga retreats and learning, so when she passed away young, her husband built SOAW in her honour. He’s still alive today and actually is walking around the complex whilst we’re here!

Day seven we woke up at 7.30am for a team meeting at 8.03am (they want to get us used to strict, unusual timing). We spent the morning in some more information sessions and in the afternoon we headed out to our villages. On our way to the villages, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch where we ate heaps of delicious traditional Indian food and when we received the bill, it was 573 IRP between the ten of us, which is around 57 IRP each (only just over $1 AU). We then headed to our village. After about five minutes wandering the village, we were invited into a lady’s house for chai and mango. Turned out that the woman is the owner of the PLUS Pod building, which meant forming a connection with her so soon was brilliant. The kids in the Pod are so awesome, they’re so happy and full of life. It really hit home just how happy they are and that they’re life if already fantastic, we are merely increasing their opportunity to succeed. The kids were so excited to see us, pulling at our clothes and asking us questions, it was a very humbling experience and I can’t wait see more.

Its not too late to donate to my 40K pledge! Click here to help out: https://40kglobejuly2018.raisely.com/emmapinfold

Until next time, that’s this trip update, Pinned.
Em.