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If you’re following this blog because you know me (Jeff), Stephanie or Grant I have a little update on our internship. If you’re hoping to know what’s up with Seth, Kari, John, Bret, Anne and the VanDrunens…sorry. Steph, Grant and I have been working at a microfinance company. They give loans to women in poverty so they have the chance to create an income generating business. Our first task was to put together a concise and visually appealing flowchart of their business process. This sounds simple but having never worked in a microfinance company before, the process was all new to us. The first step was to understand their process well enough to isolate the most significant aspects of their process. That was the most difficult and time consuming process. After that we added some pictures, arrows, colors, etc. and a few hours later we had a beautiful graphic display of the process. Feedback is pending.

Our current project is to research the many information systems available to microfinance institutions and present them to a few coworkers – not sure who yet. They seem to be happy with their current system but would like to be more aware of the other options on the market. Gathering information on the topic has been brutal. Google is great but it doesn’t know everything and communicating over the phone with Indian companies has resulted in lots of confusion on both ends of the phone. We have until the end of the day Monday to put together a presentation and there are still a lot of gaps. We plan on getting as much done as we can and providing a list of tasks we were unable to complete. While it’s unfortunate that we may not be able to complete everything they hoped, we are glad not to have run out of things to do. One of our goals is to add value to the organization and that is something I am confident we will achieve.

Our last project is still unclear. There have been hints that we might get to go into the field and see some of the women who have been impacted. I speak for the three of us when I saw we’re excited for that possibility. It would be an excellent change of pace from the office work. Although doing an internship may not be the most exciting interim trip, I appreciate this unique opportunity. We get to engage in a part of Indian culture than tourists never could. Enough about work; the weekend is here!

For dinner we returned to Tabla but got Chinese food this time. Yes, Chinese food at an Indian restaurant. It was delicious but still spicy. Even Chinese food here has an Indian flare. I suppose in the U.S. restaurants Americanize a lot of foreign foods too.

Here’s a picture of us at dinner taken by one of our wonderful waiters. Notice the lack of Professor and Mrs. VanDrunen. We’re out of the “nest.”

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Our last event of the evening was to watch Slumdog Millionaire. If you are not familiar, it is the story of an Indian boy who wins a million dollars on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” He is being questioned on how he knew all the answers because foul play is suspected. The movie flashes back to stories about the boy’s childhood that have given him the knowledge to answer all the questions. It’s an entertaining way to learn a little bit about Indian culture.

On a completely unrelated note, Ann taught a Zumba class today. My sources tell me she did well. Here she is in action.

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Thanks for reading. I think I speak for the whole group when I say we appreciate you thoughts and prayers.

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