[ Travel Journal by Ryan Manita ] Passage to India – We landed in London with just enough time for afternoon tea. Following a brief layover in Mumbai – four airplanes later and more than 30 hours of travel time – we finally arrived in Goa, on India’s west coast. While in Mumbai, the taxi ride from the international airport to the domestic airport (and our flight to Goa) introduced us to the organized confusion that is Indian traffic. 4 Dona Cady, MCC’s Dean of Global Education (left), and student Ryan Manita traveled more than 30 hours to Hubli, India, in January for the Deshpande Foundation Development Dialogue 2013. Meet & Greet – On our second day in India, we met the rest of the international delegation from the Merrimack Valley Sandbox and the Pond-Deshpande Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick. Four of us were students, and the rest were faculty, staff and community leaders. We were invited to the conference to facilitate international networking to strengthen the Sandbox communities in North America, and inspire Hubli Sandbox participants. Members of the international delegation featuring students, faculty, staff and community leaders from the Merrimack Valley and New Brunswick, Canada. To Hubli! – The six-hour bus ride from Goa to Hubli, located in the state/province of Karnataka, was a wonderful preview of the sights and sounds of India. The trip started along the coast, then wound through mountain roads. All along the way, we passed picturesque villages and colorful markets. At one point, we stopped to dip our toes in the warm Arabian Sea, while horses roamed along the side of the road searching for food. Hubli, and its twin city Dharwad, is a vibrant, developing area with a population of more than 1 million people. 4 On the six-hour drive from Goa to Hubli, we passed countless villages and local vendors selling colorful produce. Touring Sikshana– In Dharwad, we toured Sikshana, a foundation that has transformed literacy and math proficiency in government schools. Sikshana works to empower students in economically disadvantaged urban and rural communities, to promote long-term economic benefit. Visiting a primary school in Dharwad helped us understand the Indian educational infrastructure. We also had some inspiring interactions with students. Above: Dona Cady presents MCC gifts to the principal of a Sikshana primary school in Dharwad. Right: Young Sikshana students ask Ryan Manita to sign their notebooks. [ 18 ] 4 4 Profiles