Embracing India- Ali

One of the main things I have told myself here in India is that I must embrace everything whether it is good or bad. When I first got here, I felt so dirty. The air is so humid, all the kids have lice, there is dirt and garbage everywhere, and the air smells like pollution and animal feces. You just can’t feel clean no matter how much you shower or put on hand sanitizer. It got tiring trying to make myself feel clean, because it’s almost impossible. Paula and I came up with a new saying called, “YOIIO”, which means: You’re only in India once. (Until I come back which I will) We might as well live like an Indian while we’re here! Today I was walking down from the prayer room at the day boarding school down to the teaching room, and I didn’t want to wear my shoes. I just wanted to embrace the dirt and get my feet dirty! The people of Bamangotchi (My teams village) are so kind. They bring us into their homes, which are basically made out of sticks and sheets, and offer us anything they have. They have a ceremony to welcome us into their homes where they put flowers in our hair and bindi on our foreheads. They bring us out more food than we could possibly eat, and then they make us take the leftovers home to Nishta. They really appreciate us coming into their home. Sometimes it’s hard to eat the food just because a lot of it is the exact same as the previous house, or it’s just gross. But we have to realize that they are so happy to have us there and they just want to make us welcome because they care so much about as us even though they don’t know us. That’s why each of us needs to embrace the whole village experience.

A couple of nights ago all the girls went into downtown Baruipur and shopped for saree’s and pantsuits. We were in a tiny glass store and we attracted a huge crowd of mostly men. Thankfully Big Steve (our leader) was there to protect us from the scary men! It’s funny because if you’re a white person in India, especially a huge group of girls, you feel like you’re famous! That’s something you definitely have to embrace.

Today I told Jeff that I never want to go home (although I would miss my family and friends) because I absolutely LOVE India. It’s so different from America but in a good way. I’m so lucky have this experience along with all the other teens here with me. I am so blessed to be here and I can already see the permanent changes that this wonderful experience is going to have on my life. I love Nishta, I love Curry, I love Bamangatchi, I love the Day Boarding School, I love the people, I love Ta-Ta’s, I love YMAD, and I LOVE INDIA!


P.S- I love and miss you mom, dad, Lexie, & friends! Can’t wait to tell you all about all of my adventures! Be safe.


With love, Ali