Friday, August 21, 2009

The OWC (Overseas Women's Club)

I joined the OWC last week - they are both a social and a charitable organization made up of over 900 (mostly) women. I'd checked out their website before I even got to Bangalore and knew that it would be a great place to meet people and get involved with charities - they fundraise and distribute money to 25 local charities.

When we decided to move to Bangalore one of my goals was to volunteer at a charity. I knew that I would have lots of time on my hands, and if I couldn't find a charity to get involved with in India, there must be something seriously wrong.

Every Thursday morning OWC members get together at Leela Palace Hotel for coffee. It's a good time for newcomers to join and meet other newbies and talk to others who have been in Bangalore for a year or two. With most people here for only two years, membership is ever changing.

So last week, with the kids finally in school, off I went to join and somehow, I am now not just volunteering for a charity, but have volunteered to be on the Charity Commitee. I will have three or four charities that I will be responsible for, determining their needs, allocating money and seeing that the money is put to proper use. I am really looking forward to meeting with the committee and visiting the charities.

Wow, I must say the OWC is very organized. On the social side, there seems to be a club for just about everything: book club, writing club, wine appreciation club, cooking club and on and on. They organize monthly speakers, road trips, lunches etc. I joined up for two things next month. One is a hands on cooking class at Caperberrys Restaurant (where we went for my birthday lunch) and the other is lunch at an Indian Restaurant. Both were only 600INR ($14 Can).

The OWC publishes a monthly magazine with info about upcoming events and interesting articles related to Bangalore and India. They have also published a book, a survival guide really, called In & Out of Bangalore. It is fabulous, and when I got my hands on it about a month ago it was such a relief to have so much information all in one place.

I have to say that the company Michael works for did very little to help us out when we arrived. I felt like we were aliens dropped onto another planet. We didn't know emergency phone numbers, what hospital to go to, where to shop for food, what is safe to eat, what water to use etc. Everything is in this book!

It was good to get out and talk to people and find out some new bits of information. Like one person who lives close to where I do - she told me about the Ham Shop, just a couple doors down from the mosque. The next day we went and bought bacon and it was delicious! Another person had such a bad dental experience he's opened his own dental clinic. And there were others who were newer than me and I was giving them advice.

It's a good group of interesting people from all around the world. A lot of people are still on summer holidays and so the social events and charity meetings are on hold until Sept. Looking forward to when things start up, but for this month I'll at least go to the Thurs. coffee mornings.

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