I don't mean to be redundant, to keep posting about India, but it's important to me that people know about this amazing outreach organization. It's also important to me that people know they can help.
|Saran Raj was my favorite kid. I just loved him so much!|
|Look at those faces! How could you NOT fall in love!?|
|Amid the work, and the pouring rain, volunteers still find|
time to have ridiculous amounts of fun!
Okay. I was going to India.
All through the preparations I just kept thinking. "Oh my gosh. I'm going to India!" Honestly, I don't think I even realized I was there until a week into it. I had culture shock for the first two weeks, if you read my journals you'd think I was unhappy to be there. Maybe I was. A little intimidated and frightening, sure. It was hot, the people stared at us, sometimes the smell was so horrible you thought you were going to vomit, then there were the other moments. The moments that made me realize I could spend the rest of my life in that place. The moment where it was raining so hard, dancing was the only option. Or the moments when the children would just sit in your laps. Or the moments where you sat on top of the roof, hanging your laundry and took a look around at the jungle around you. And realized, "Wow. I'm in India!"
|Mixing Cement the old fashion way. Look at all that sweat!|
The greatest thing about being apart of RSO, about being in India was this: I had never in my life been so happy. I had never worked so hard. I had never faced things and challenges this hard. I had never met people like this. People who were absolutely brilliant and educated and talented, but had been forced to leave their homes and family to live in Colonies for the leprosy affected. I met a man who was muslim who spoke four languages and used to teach philosophy at the university, but because he had come down with this debilitating disease, he had been forced to leave his home and job and family to live in a place full of sadness and disease and pain.
I learned that these people are extraordinary. Padma was one of the people that helped us realize that. The Daughter of former India President R Venkatraraman, Padma has long been a leading figure in the national fight against leprosy and its resulting stigma. She does a lot in the way of micro-finances in the colonies. Meeting her was for sure a highlight in my trip to India.
I can't tell you what you'll learn yourself in India. I can't tell you what your experience will be. But I can promise that if you go, and you go with the notion to get everything you can out of it, You'll never regret it and you'll never be the same. There will never be enough words to express what these people mean to me, what these people mean to me, what this experience meant to me, or what it did for me. I really challenge you to consider the possibility of allowing this program into your life. There are more options than just volunteering. There's possibilities for donations and for sponsoring children to be able to attend school. Take a look at the website, and really give it an open thought. And if there's a little tug at you saying "Oh my word. I really want to do this." Then stop thinking. AND DO IT! :) That's what i had to do. I promise if you decide to do this, the universe, God, whatever you believe in, will make it possible. I promise.
|Quite possibly the cutest smile ever.|