In my February 9 post on US Ambassadors: The Brave New World of Blogging I mentioned our US Ambassador to India, Tim Roemer as one of the three ambassadors without blogs but who still managed to run a pretty savvy media operation in their countries of assignment.
Today I was asked to participate in a country-wide Digital Video Conference with our consulates and officers working in consular operations on a Leadership Skills Workshop. I expressed my gratitude to them for all of their successful work serving as the “face” to our outreach efforts everyday in India on visas and American Citizen Services. They were concentrating on improving their technical skills and communicating with the “next generation” in this young democracy. I reflected later in the day how fortunate I am to have all the highly motivated and deeply committed staff at our embassy and in all our consulates.
We hosted a reception at Roosevelt House for Sulabh International, an organization in Delhi that builds water efficient technology for toilets, improves sanitation and hygiene, and provides opportunities for “untouchables” to get a better education. In the Gandhiji tradition, Dr. Pathak, the founder, is working to remove the legal and social barriers to the caste system for the “scavengers”. These lower caste dalits are told from birth that they must clean toilets and human waste, and have no other choices in life. Sulabh’s guiding philosophy, like America’s, teaches that everyone is equal and gives their employees the tools to pursue other vocations and follow their dreams. This is an amazing story of hope, change, and progress.
I’m cooking over a traditional chulha and can feel and taste the smoke stinging in my eyes and throat. Moving over to the new technology, the Envirofit cookstove, the steam coming off the rice is the only visible emission! There is a huge difference for health and the impact on the person doing the cooking with the green technology. I decided to purchase two cookstoves on the spot!