The first time I experienced something I really wasn’t used to was when I went to India with my father. It was one of the first trips I ever took. My father was doing missions work and he decided to take me along to showed me what India was like and what he was doing there.
It was really surprising to me, because I’ve never seen poverty like in India before. I had never seen the infrastructure of a society that was so underdeveloped. This experienced awaken me, it showed me a different world, and one I didn’t know about. This trip really put into perspective of how lucky I am to have grown up in a society where I have everything that I need.
The trip only lasted ten days. We visited a couple of cities in southern India. We stayed with my father’s friend and his family, who is also a pastor in India. His family was so hospitable towards us, it was unbelievable. They both slept in their children’s room just to give my father and I a nice and comfortable bed [smiles], and even though it was winter they turned on the air condition. They were always preparing food for us and showing us around.
Oftentimes people see India as [pauses] different, underdeveloped I guess. But when I went there it kind of felt like we were all the same. Even though we shared a lot of differences and there were cows in the street, and it was less sanitary – I guess – it really made me realized that
no matter where you come from everybody is really the same.
It was really eye opening and something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
My father’s friend and his family were really intrigued about America, but they were always asking me if I was enjoying my time in India and if I liked their food and culture. It was really important for them that we appreciated their culture.
When I got back home I felt changed, very different, while everybody remained the same. I felt like people were really missing out on something bigger. I had lived in such a shelter world, and all people worried about was gossip and who was dating who. I went back with this mindset that those things don’t really matter, that that’s not what’s important in life.
It really changed my whole outlook in life. I was 14.
Watching people use the streets as a toilet is something that really impacted me. I kept a tally for two days to see how many people I spotted doing their necessities on the streets, I got up to 30.
Ever since that experience, I want to do something about this, and I think it goes way beyond donating money. We shouldn’t just throw money at people, we should provide the money to improve their infrastructure, that would really help.
I would really like to become a bush plane pilot, so I can fly supplies to really remote areas where there are communities in need. I don’t want to live my life surrounded by money or acquiring all the stuff I can get just so I can live a more comfortable life.
I can actually do something if I am less selfish.
I feel like every culture makes up stories about other cultures and races, and a lot of the times ends up being false. The most important piece of advice I could give someone is to run into whatever scares you, just power through your fears.
People need to get over the fear of the unknown.