I aptly referenced this blog as "the experience of a lifetime" and it has certainly turned out to be so and easily a highlight of my IBM career. I'm not sure if that's attributed to the fact I have no highlights in my IBM Career (smile) or the program is just that great!! It really is amazing how much occurred and how time flew over the last four weeks. I am back in Raleigh now and still playing in my mind the experiences, new relationships and learnings that have occurred. For my IBM friends, I can only say that you MUST give this program serious consideration as I personally think its the most unique and genuine IBM experience I have ever had.
We met a Tourism Director in South Africa(SA) who bedazzled us a bit with his impressions and knowledge of local trivia starting each phrase with "Did you know..". He did this for about 15min but I suspect I will be much shorter. Some of these you won't know but some you may be aware of. I am doing this ad lib so we will see how it goes:
Did you know that.....
...IBM's Corporate Service Corps(CSC) has been in existing since 2008, has had 2,400+ members who've worked on 30day humanitarian projects in over 34 countries around the world!
...For my project, we had 14 members from 8 different countries as part of the IBM Team. We actually started with 15members and 9 countries but one young lady from the Netherlands had to defer her selection.
...We were the 12th IBM CSC Team that has been in South Africa since 2008.
...South Africa has nine provinces and we spent 3 of our 4 weeks in the North West Province which is known as the "Platinum Belt" due to the number of mines, 90% of the worlds platinum is in SA!!
...Our project was focused on supporting our client's(iNeSI) efforts to enhance e-literacy amongst SA citizens to ensure the country is competitive in the global marketplace and able to take advantage of new technology in their personal and work lives..
...42% of SA citizens between the ages of 18 and 29 are unemployed.
...South Africa seeks to ensure it has "e-skilled" 10M SA citizens by 2018.
...South Africa has the only two Nobel Peace Prize Winners that lived on the same street!! Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu lived on the same street in Soweto.
...We worked on 4th of July. Rightly so, nobody cares about USA independence in South Africa!
...The beaches in Cape Town have the coldest sea water in their summer months due to the Antarctica annual melt...crazy!
...South Africa’s drinking water is rated 3rd best in the world for being “safe and ready to drink”.
...Cape Point, nor the Cape of Good Hope, is the Southernmost point of Africa. It is also NOT where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Still makes for a classic photo!!
Our Last Days in South Africa....
Our last week of work was not surprisingly focused on finalizing our client presentations and documentation related to our project. This culminated into a single 3 hr+ presentation event, attended by Client, local dignitaries, IBM Execs, key stakeholders and other companies with these interests like Cisco and Microsoft.
Enough typing for now...pictures and videos will do most of the talking from here on my final expereinces...
|Our SubTeam 4 - The Dream Team - Working on Finishing Touches...|
|For those that enjoy teasing me about my sweater collection....Indeed I brought several..|
|Our Team 4 Grad Student - Bokang|
|Our Final IBM Team Photo @ North West University|
|Our Team Expressing Thanks to Bokang for his support and work on the project|
|Ce'st moi, kicking off our Final Client Presentation in Johannesburg on Behalf of IBM Team..|
|Went to restaurant for Final Team Dinner, with Zulu Face Painting|
|Its hard to be serious with footprints on your forehead|
|Tarik and the ladies of our team having fun with Zulu face paint and enjoying each other's company at our final dinner|
|A random run in with a teacher that taught at my high school in San Francisco, 1yr after I graduated!!|
Final Days -- Tourist Trip to Cape Town South Africa
I have never been to Africa so I have never been to Cape Town of course but I can assure you that it won't be my last time. The weather was amazing and we were quite fortunate because although it rains a bit this time of year, we had 0 inches of rain during our 5 days in Cape Town.
|Most of our team members that traveled to Cape Town - Hout Bay|
|A local seal that entertains tourists....for a nominal fee, of course.|
|Traditional Cape of Good Hope Photo....|
|I succesfully completed the 4 hour hike to the summit of Table Mountain....WOW!|
Random local entertainment, pretty good and funny!
|Arrival at Robbins Island|
|Nelson Mandela's former cell @ Robbins Island|
|My teammate Aruna and I on group sightseeing tour...|
|A Cape Town Sunset rivals anything I've seen in California, Mexico or Hawaii....WOW!!|
|Flight Departure board at London Heathrow....Raleigh -Durham is BIG TIME now!! : )|
I thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope you enjoyed the experience and insight, but I've learned well that words and even pictures can't express it all completely.
What an experience!!