While volunteering in India, I’ve learnt a great deal of life lessons by being exposed to a marginally different lifestyle, culture and climate. Right off the bat I was shocked at the radically different living conditions found across the street from each other. On one side there was wealth and elegance, while on the other poverty and unhygienic living conditions resided. Oddly enough, I was the only one shocked by this. The locals seem to grow accustomed to the drastic economic difference in such close proximity.
Economic standings aside, India took me by storm with its radiant display of culture in every aspect of the day to day life. Streets were always busy, echoing with a mixture of Hindi and English. The differences between California and Delhi couldn’t even be counted. It seemed as if I stepped through a portal leading to a whole new world. Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience.
Meet the everyday struggles of life with a smile
The true magic of India really started to shine on me when I first started working with the children. Aside from them glowing with life like any child would, it was even more fascinating that they manage that magical glow in such hard living conditions. I thought to myself that the struggle for a decent meal shouldn’t be a real thing in the twenty first century, but I thought so with no real answer. The sheer number of both kids and adults that inhabit India is almost unimaginable, with numbers surpassing a billion souls.
And soul is exactly what these people have. They have the fighting spirit within themselves to get up out of bed every day so that they can fight their battles for survivals. These battles, of course, consist of finding ways to provide for their, often bigger, families.
That struggle encapsulated with a rich sense of belief and religion really made me think twice about my life needs. Why do we feel the need to surround ourselves with material luxuries?
Is it because we’re aware of our longevity and we want to own something that will surpass it so we won’t be forgotten? None of that seemed to be important in the rural part of India, where people truly believe that their spirit will live on after their due date, and that ease of mind and personal relationships are what really matters in the present day. These people made me into the free-spirited resourceful person I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful.