We’re on the B1G1 Study Tour bus heading north to the rural village of Rajgurunagah.
We’ve had fun on the bus as we always do. And we take time today to listen to what B1G1: Business for Good Partners and their team members from around the world have on their Wish Lists for the things we can add in to add even more value to them this year.
And amazing things happen on the tour – not just from what we experience in the fantastic projects we visit but simply in the interactions we have as we connect in different ways.
Opposite me is B1G1 Partner and partner in a leading Accounting firm in the UK, Aynsley Damery.
We’re talking about growing his firm. Aynsley has concluded that one way of doing that is to write a book this year. He shows me the outline. He’s called it ‘the Power of Small’. He laughs as he tells me he did that just because he thought a title like that might peak my interest in getting involved with the book (that title is, after all, the title of one of my live programmes).
I read the outline: “Aynsley, it’s the wrong title.”
And after some discussion I tell him what I strongly believe it should be. “It should be Everything Has Changed.”
Aynsley gets it instantly. And we get excited talking about why it’s such a great title and what we could do with it.
We stop for lunch at the (seriously brilliant) Marriott Hotel at Pune Chakan 3 hours north of Mumbai. We connect via the Wi-Fi. We register right there and then all the domain name combinations of ‘Everything Has Changed’ we can.
Aynsley emails his Cheltenham office at Tayabali Tomlin and we register the company too.
And we can do that almost in a heartbeat because ……… everything has indeed changed.
We see that massively when we head off for another hour as the road gets smaller and smaller. We change to 4-Wheel Drives. We head up (with some challenges) a very, very steep road to the project of this day; one run by Dr Sathe – the Bombay Mothers and Children Welfare Society.
Part of their work involves bringing education to relatively remote villagers, people whom, until they meet Dr Sathe belief that they are locked into a certain style of life. As Dr. Sathe puts it:”they believe that are born this way, to live this way, to die this way.”
But no longer is that the case. And today is the day all of that will change for this remote mountaintop village.
We’ve been told we will paint the new school, we’ll switch on the new e-learningsystem (yes, everything has changed) – a system that’s already made a massive difference in 5 other remote villages in this area and then we’ll inaugurate and open the school.
But news of the day has got out. We’re met by beating drums, colorfully dressed, sari-clad women, smart key decked out men and smiling children with flowers to give us.
And there’s a big tent set up. On command the sari-clad women and their families take up positions on the floor of the tent. And then clearly local and regional leaders plus some obvious political figures sit at an elegantly prepared top table.
Then the emcee announces in perfect English that all the B1G1: Business for Good business partners should come and site behind the top table, “particularly,” he says, “Masami Sato and Paul Dunn”.
And then the speeches start (all of this, it later turns out, to Dr. Sathe’s surprise as well).
But the speeches don’t just ‘start’ …….. they go on ….. and on ….. and on. For 2 solid hours.
And people are honored along the way. Masami and I get gifts of ‘God fruit coconut’ and I get dressed in a flowing (and glowing) turban.
Finally, one of the speakers, a tall man known locally (so my local friend by now on the top table tells me) as ‘SuperCop’ announces the school may now be inaugurated.
So we move to the delightful new school building, lift the paper covering the new commemorative plaque and cut the ceremonial ribbon. The new e-learning system is switched on. It projects so brightly onto the walls and the children clearly love it.
And then the fun really begins.
These welcoming drums now become dance drums and a festival of celebratory dances begin with the B1G1 Partners positively starring with the local women and men leading the way. Even Bollywood disco type music blares from the battery driven PA System. And the locals love it.
All of this takes place while diligent tour guests are brightly painting the outside of the new school buildings. This is fun too. And the e-learning projector is still burning bright inside whilst we move outside to plant commemorative trees.
It’s an awesome scene. One late-twenties male tour guest describes it to me as, ‘the best day of my life so far.’ Everything has changed.
And we see more of that again after what seems like an hour of celebratory photos and we head back down the mountain to the tiny village below and end up at another Bombay Mothers project – this one both a maternity hospital AND a vocational learning campus for fashion designing, nursing and fashion making.
And we see new inventions by some of the local students – wonderful new processes for hatching eggs to preventing fatal accidents on the mountain roads.
Everything has changed and is changing. Stay tuned for more of these amazing snippets of the B1G1 Study Tour or visit our facebook page to view more vibrant photos!