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Monday, April 20, 2009

I bet you wonder why I went to Germany??

I have been writing about my trip to Germany but I never mentioned the reason for my visit to Germany. I wouldn’t say that it is deliberate but just when a thought crosses my mind, I write and it never did until now.

In 1975 my grand mother who was raising me, retired with a pension of 20-rupees/ month (less than half a dollar today) and couldn’t take care of me nor she could afford to send me back to my parents as they had three more girls to care for. So she made the best decision that she knew – put me in a boarding school for the disadvantaged kids supported by an organization in Germany called Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH).

KNH was started at a kitchen table by three German men and started their work in India with five children 50 years ago. Today they support approximately 300,000 children in 27 different countries. Picture below is their corporate office in Duisburg.
I was in that home for 12 years in Andhra Pradesh plus three years of professional education (in Physiotherapy at CMC, Vellore) that they had totally funded. I graduated with Bachelors degree in Physiotherapy with zero debt. As it is their 50th anniversary, I was invited to attend the function. I felt that it would be an opportunity to experience the sense of completion by expressing my gratitude personally to the organization that gave me so much so I went.

Function was meticulously planned. German chancellor Ms. Angela Merkel was the guest of honor. My friend and I dressed formally (photo below is taken in front of the hotel before we left for the function) and reached the city hall well ahead of schedule and met lots and lots of people before the function began. It was a blessing we had translators (ear piece) to use as the entire function was held in German language.

Taking pictures inside the meeting hall was prohibited so we couldn’t take any but we just didn’t realize that we sat through the function for three hours.  After that we had a formal banquet serving different tastes – Asian, African and Latin American etc.

After seven hours, we made it back to our hotel at about 12:00 AM. We went to bed quickly as we had to catch a train to Hamburg the next day at 8:00 AM and I’ll tell the reason (for going to Hamburg) tomorrow. I was one satisfied individual that night.

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