Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 2

I'm very happy today because I think I can actually write and publish my post before midnight! ... and hopefully join Rene, Gek and Steffen for a run tomorrow in the AM.

Speaking of running, I would like to take you back to the day I landed in Bogota. I do remember feeling tired and shortness of breath while waiting at the baggage claim! I initially thought it might be the jet lag............. but for once, I flew 6 hours and was still pretty much in the same timezone (Bogota is 1 hour behind US EDT). So what could it be? My cab driver, Wilson, reminded me that the oxygen level is much lower at such high altitudes and it is normal to feel this way. So for somebody flying in from sea level, it take a few days to get adjusted. I definitely feel much better today than I was couple of days ago.

A few interesting coincidences:
- When I first saw the participant list for the Bogota assignment, few weeks ago, I noticed Divya Malemath. I did not know who she was or which department she worked for. However, her last name seemed very familiar. In fact, it was my high school class teacher's name! So I emailed Divya to ask her if she was in fact, Mr. Malemath's daughter. Indeed, she is!

Gerda and Divya:
Just for the record, India has over 1.2 billion people, so you do the math of the odds.

- Steffen Kress -  that name sounded very familiar too! I did a quick check in my emails and realized that he worked in IT department, just like I did until recently. I discovered that his manager, Rainer Kritzinger, was my previous boss :). What are the chances?

Steffen and me:

- Rene Wirthmann - Also familiar name.. also worked for IT and also reported to Rainer Kritzinger at some point.

Rene, Gek and Steffen:

So, Day 2. The day we met all our clients in the SAP Colombia office. It was a 15 minute cab drive from the hotel. I was pretty surprised by the level of security at the building. They do not accept SAP ID cards from either Newtown Square or Walldorf. We had to present our photo IDs, get a picture taken and even have our index fingerprint taken (Biometric, scan to enter a building.. what?!).
Anyhow, I felt secure upon entering the building! ;o).

What a view of the Eastern Cordillera Andes mountains from the SAP Colombia office! Wow! We had a meeting room with the Andes in the backdrop.. how cool is that?!

We met Tracey Armitage in person from PSF for the first time. Extremely energetic, self motivated professional who is completely invested in the success of PSF.

All teams had an opportunity to chat with their respective clients for about an hour.

The MD of SAP North Latin America (NoLa), Francisco Reyes started off the day by welcoming us to Colombia and giving some insights into SAP Colombia. This was followed by client introductions and introductions by corresponding SAP team members.

Francisco Reyes:

SOLE Colombia:

Genesis Foundation:


I tried my espanol to impress the folks in the room. Here is what I said "Mi nombre es Srikanth Rajamani. Yo hablo un poco de espanol. Yo soy de la India pero vivo en los Estados Unidos hace ocho anos. Mi trabajo en el Corporate Audit departamento de SAP. Mi alegro de poder trabajar con PSF y Tracey!" BAM!

Fundacion Capital:

After completing the introductions, we were off to go to the client's office. We took the cab from SAP Bogota office to PSF office and took us nearly 30 minutes to reach there.

Cab Ride from SAP office 
Security protocol #2 as explained by mama Liza! : Do not accept food from strangers.
Ethical Dilemma Questions:
  1. Minutes into the cab ride, does an overly friendly, innocuous-looking cab driver count as a stranger?
  2. Does this rule apply, if I was the one who actually inquired about the food with the "stranger"?
  3. Does this rule apply, if the stranger eats half the portion he's offering you and still seems to be in a pretty stable condition?
Let me explain why I asked the above questions to myself. So we got this cab and I sat in the front seat next to the driver. 2 minutes into the journey, the driver pulls out a mandarine orange, which I think, I was actually sitting on and stores it in his glove compartment! Anyway, I say to him: "Gracias para la Naranja" which basically means, "thanks for the orange". At this point, he thinks I'm really hungry, so takes out the orange from the glove compartment, cuts it into a half, starts eating one half and offers me the other half. Impulsively, I accepted the orange and then the Rule #2 flashed in my mind! The following is the actual conversation in the cab:

Srikanth: "Um, guys, we were told not to accept food from strangers. "
Gerda, Michal: "Uh huh. "
Srikanth: *confused*: "Anybody wants to try one?"
Gerda: "No!"
Michal: "Not Really!"
Tracey: "No I'm good, thank you!"
Srikanth: *At this point I'm really tempted to eat the orange!* : "Uh".......10 seconds pass...."Tracey, how do say 'I'm sick in Spanish'". 
Tracey: "Estoy enfermado"
Srikanth to cab driver: **Coughing slightly** "Estoy Enfermado.. pero muchas Gracias".

Poor taxi driver. 

Thanks for putting me in a spot, guys, great team work there! All you had to do was eat a piece of orange.................. and we could have all hallucinated together.

I have to say though, I did feel really sad to give him back the other half of the orange.. to decline such an act of kindness..  !

Overwhelmed by now, by introducing ourselves, we were really looking forward to get down to business. PSF shares the office space with a law firm. The law firm is run by Juan Forero's father. 
I wont go into too much of what we exactly did at PSF, but it suffices to say that it was a very productive day! We slogged until 7:30 PM, discussing PSF and the projects with Tracey, Diego and Mathieu (coordinators for Sembrando Confianza or "Seeds of Confidence" program). 

One of the observations from today was noticing the energy levels of the foundation employees, volunteers and interns. They love what they do, are super excited to share their ever growing milestones and achievements, believe in their Foundation's vision and at the end of the day are fully satisfied with their work. This was truly inspiring. You can only imagine the results if every employee in any large enterprise wore the same conviction and passion for their company as these NGO employees do!

PSF team at lunch.

Can't wait for the upcoming field trips this week! 
Hasta MaƱana.

No comments:

Post a Comment