Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Eyes and Seeds

Usha took us on a tour of her family's eye clinic yesterday. Her family has a foundation that is involved in a number of philanthropy projects, one of which is a clinic that provides eye care for anyone. It's an incredibly valuable service in this area.

I learned I could get Lasik surgery there for about $200, which means it would be more cost effective for me to fly to India to get it done, and get a free vacation out of it. Health care tourism it is called. Unfortunately, I also learned I am too old for Lasik.

Usha was the one who personally oversaw the building of the clinic, and said the contractors didn't like her very much by the end because she was so demanding that it be done right. The scorn of contractors is a good trade for the reverence with which the clinic doctors, staff and patients obviously regard her. This may be the most impressive thing I’ve seen yet (well, maybe the Taj Mahal was more impressive, but in a different way). I have a suggestion for where the next FMC children's offering might go.

The Revered Usha with the eye clinic director

As if the eye clinic wasn't enough, their same family foundation built a school, and it's where Ben and Brian went.

First graders are cute all over the world

And lunchrooms are loud all over the world and lunch monitors are strict all over the world:

Then, it was onto a tour of Mahyco, the seed company started by Usha's father, which sells seeds all over India:

Here's the main lobby:

Plants being grown and tested:

Venu, our tour guide for the technical areas, was very gracious in teaching us Biology 101, which is probably not in his job description. He was a grad student at U of I under a professor that everyone else knew, so it was nice to have a connection:

We also got to see the crown jewels of Mahyco, where all their seeds are stored. It was in one of those Get Smart liars where you went through door after door of locks. Although highly secure, the doors were mostly so that the seeds can be gradually brought up to the local temperature over the course of a few days, because going from a cooler immediately to India heat is not good for the seeds.

Brent's presence is still felt (Usha's husband who passed away a few years ago).  He is on the Mahyco bulletin board:

And there is a cricket tournament in his honor, that their school won last year:

Finally, if there is any lingering doubt that Usha is a natural Mennonite after touring the eye clinic, then her office should put the issue to rest.  Despite being the highest ranking person at this Mahyco location, her office is a cubicle:

And, oh yes, almost forgot. At Mahyco, the cook keeps track of how much food is wasted by people not eating everything on their plate.  Yesterday's total: .31  31 grams/plate.  I think we should do that for FMC potlucks.

And here's what yesterday's lunch looked like:

And, while we are on food, Usha made us a lovely dinner last night:

She made Kachori, which is dough with a filling of either lentil or green chickpea and then fried.  She also made American-style creamed corn with cheese for those with tender tummies. 

She also made a tomato-based sauce with paneer (cheese) chunks that I have dubbed Paneer Ushanti. It was all very, very yummy.  The Breezes and Moores are trying to get Usha to open up a cookie shop here, but I think Paneer Ushanti anbd Kachori Zehraka would be bigger hits.

The group:

After dinner, we played canasta or canaster, however you pronouce it, with three very troubled decks of cards. Or maybe it was 5 or 6 partial decks, but they still did not make up a complete 3 decks.  It made the game more interesting, I think.  Two of the three games ended in draws where Cindy and I had the most cards down, so we are counting that as win.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Cindy must be retired if she's playing cards.