This weekend has given me the opportunity to do alot of thinking about what I want out of life. After realizing I’ve not been fulfilled working simply to get by and my yearning for travel and cultural understanding has gone unfed, I’ve made the decision to spend 4 to 6 weeks next year volunteering in India. I decided to do the volunteer program after deciding I wanted more than just the cursory tourist experience. The task of finding the best program is still a bit daunting, but I’m confident that the decision at least is the right one.
In preparation for the trip I will be learning Hindi, one of many national languages of India, including English. I’ve already began to fall in love with the beautiful Devarangari script. Allthough speaking Hindi is in no way a requirement for any of the programs, I feel it will give me a better opportunity to understand the people I am working to help and their needs and desires.
My goal is to do a trip a year, to different countries or areas and to become a global advocate and public speaker for global issues when I return in my spare time. It’s also something I hope to incorporate seamlessly into my writing.
I just feel the sting of how easily we as Americans, sit within our four walls and are so disconnected from the world at large, the suffering that is taking place is so easy to push out of our minds. I feel the need to do something to address that.
Why India? I’m not exactly sure where my fascination with India began, but it has not diminished over the years that I have been aware of it. The opportunities I’ve had to meet natives of India and hear their stories have been fascinating. And these have been the lucky ones. The well off ones who have come to the US. Within their stories are horrors of sexual inequality and social systems that make helping their own people difficult. But for many in India hunger, unemployment, and an inate sense of an inability to help oneself are commonplace.
I’m also fascinated by the religions and cultures of the different regions of India. The history, colors, spices and fabrics as well as rituals and rites that are worlds apart from what we know here in the United States.
I hope to spend part of my time in Delhi and part of my time in rurul Dharamsala were I will also be exposed to the Tibetian culture as it is the home of the exiled government of Tibet and the Dalai Lhama.
I’m not sure exactly when the trip will take place. Things will have to be worked out with my job and fundraising. But I’m hoping for sometime next summer.
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this endeavor, and any suggestions or advice you might have for me.