Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Portrait Of India: Day 3

Posted on behalf of Jim Cook, President of Children International.

We’ve been working in and around Calcutta for over 25 years now. I’ve traveled here often and thoroughly enjoy the city that is like no other place I’ve ever been.

On my first visit here about 20 years ago, I thought I had entered a different dimension. I couldn’t believe my eyes, ears or nose. I couldn’t leave soon enough and wasn’t eager to return.

But now I look forward to visiting “Cal.” It’s quaint, it’s crazy, it’s colorful, it’s grim, it’s vibrant…it’s Calcutta. Or, as it has been renamed, Kolkata.

Whatever you call it, it’s unique. Get here if you can. But be open to witness life in a way you’ve likely never experienced it before.

It has taught me a lot about change and how I approach it. During that first visit, I couldn’t have imagined I would ever find the city charming. But now I do. Change. Embracing change. I do now, much better than I did before and my Calcutta experience has a lot to do with that.

I visited the United States Consul General, Henry Jardine, here today. I try to visit our Embassy or Consul representatives in every country, just to touch base and inform them of our activities.

I especially like Consul General Jardine, whom I’ve visited once before.

He very much supports the efforts of charitable organizations like Children International and has been most helpful in making sure the Consulate is represented at special events we have in Calcutta and with helping sponsored youth secure visas for attending our Children International youth conferences in the U.S.

He indicated he’ll soon be ending his stay in Calcutta and will be moving on with his family, as is the way with the U.S. Department of State. But ever since my good friend, Richard Bank, formerly of the State Department and now in practice in D.C., urged us to establish relationships with our Embassy personnel, it’s been interesting to see how acquaintances like Consul General Jardine tend to show up in other locations where we conduct sponsorship activities.

Reminds me how connected all of us are. And how much we rely upon each other to make the world work. To make it a better place for as many people as we possibly can. I hope you’ll join me.

For more photos and to read his journal entries, visit Jim's Journal: At the Heart of Calcutta.

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