This I Believe

Abigail - Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Entered on September 24, 2006

Lots of people have grown into the protected and easy way of life here in the United States. They have never experienced anything that was uncomfortable or unpleasant. I went on a two week mission’s trip to India with my church last February, and it is an adventure I will never forget. An entirely new culture was introduced to me. The group I went with was a team of medical personnel. We traveled to different villages trying to help the Dalit people. The Dalit are the lowest people group in India; they can not get basic health care because their culture considers them ‘unclean.’ The doctors that went with me tried to stop any pain the people might have by pulling a tooth, or taking care of infection. The Dalit’s were very appreciative not only from the doctors ending the agony they were in, but they were happy just to know that someone would take the time to notice and care for them because they are so devalued. Part of my job, as one of the youngest on the team, was to perform puppet shows that helped kids understand health and hygiene. I also took care of Indian children whose parents were pastors in meetings. My entire trip was not just working; I also spent a day with an Indian family and learned more about the Indian culture. The family took me to a zoo, shopping, and to visit their school. In the family, there were two girls about my age, so it was interesting to see the differences in our lives.

At first I was taken aback by the extreme contrast to my world; but the exposure was good. I adapted to it and learned a lot. My perspective about life changed; it really opened my eyes to how blessed I am. I learned to appreciate the freedom and opportunity I have. Many people are sheltered and complacent with what we have in this country. Of course not all people are like this, but I believe that everyone should step out of their box and try to see the world through the eyes of someone who’s view and perspective of the world is very different from their own. I had to go to India for my eyes to be open, but I think I could learn as much just traveling the streets of America.