Nathan's about Koch Perkur School

This morning was our first full day at NISTHA. I woke up excited to visit the village, meet the children, and experience more of India. After a breakfast of hard boiled eggs, flatbread, and surprisingly toast, we set out for the schools, or “coaching centers” as NISTHA calls them. Three cars were waiting out in front of the building to pick us up, and the other three groups loaded in and drove off. My group was left stranded without a car. While Greg went to find us some sort of transportation, we stood outside as a crowd of gawking villagers slowly started to gather around us. After a lengthy few minutes, our transportation arrived in the form of three brightly colored motorized rickshaws, but what looked to me like a couple brightly colored golf carts made of scrap metal and held together by nothing but a few bolts. Already somewhat nervous about India’s roads, I hesitantly climbed into the back of one, and we were off. I was in complete awe as we sped through the winding streets, weaving in and out of trucks, cars, bikes, and pedestrians. The environment out around us was amazing. We drove past decrepit buildings that looked like they would topple over any minute, sickly green ponds filled with garbage and who knows what else, cows, goats, dogs, and cats darting in and out of traffic. One minute we would be surrounded by multi-story stone buildings plastered with advertisements, neon lights, and shops, and the next we would find ourselves enclosed on all sides by jungle with wooden huts and farmers working in their fields. IT was a mixture of two different worlds, but there was one thing similar about them; the poverty. Everywhere I could see evidence of the poor condition that these people were living in. It completely shocked me. But there was one other thing I noticed, and that was the bright, happy colors of the clothes, and the cheerful waves and smiles. I realized that these people have found happiness despite their difficult conditions. These people taught me an important lesson today. I realized that attitude is what makes a difference. You could be in the poorest, most unhappy, difficult situation possible, and you have the choice whether to let it get to you and be miserable or make the most of it and find joy. I will use this important teaching for the next few weeks here in West Bengal as I work harder, am more tired, and experience the most difficult situation I have ever had to live in. I will choose to find happiness in things that may not be the easiest for me to deal with, and make a decision to have a good attitude no matter what happens.