I have a hard time putting the experiences I had in India into words. Clearly I’ve struggled with it, since it’s been two months since I stepped foot back in the States. (Oops.)
I think one of the best words to describe Kolkata is intense. Intense heat. Intense poverty. Intense busyness. Intense traffic. Intense service.
Serving alongside the Missionaries of Charity was incredible. I don’t feel like that sentence really sums up the impact that it had on me, but that’s what I’ve got. It was incredible.
The work that the volunteers helped with wasn’t anything glamorous. We did laundry by hand, made beds, helped with mealtimes, and occasionally got to dance and paint nails. And we said “namaste” hundreds of times. But that work transcended all kinds of boundaries- race, religion, gender, socio-economic, and language. I’ve never been a part of something so simple, yet so profound.
I could probably spend all kinds of time trying to put into words what I learned about the impact of nonverbal communication, the richness of cross-cultural friendships, the devout lives of the Missionaries of Charity, or the power that comes with doing small things with great love.
But honestly, I wouldn’t do them justice trying to explain them here. So if you’re interested, please ask me more about India. I’ll do my best to tell you.
If you’re wondering, the men in the third picture asked to have their picture taken, then posed like this.
In the seventh picture, I’m pointing at the Victoria Memorial. The picture right below that is a little boy who was sent over to our group to take pictures- not a lot of white people, particularly blonde white people, travel to India. So we got some strange reactions.
The four women in the polka dotted dresses are women I got to know as I served with the Missionaries of Charity. Though we didn’t speak the same language, I felt like I got to know them in a completely different way.