Experiencing India

I find myself trying to remember what it was like the first time I encountered the bustling markets of a developing nation. Now, I’m more comfortable in them than in an American shopping mall. In the US we are constantly protected from the unpleasant; we demand a shroud of safety and cleanliness that does not include extreme poverty, beggars, maimed people, sick dogs, dirty toilets, and anything else that produces sadness or discomfort.

Susie Bryan gets a taste of Old Delhi

Human tragedy does not have a very visible place in the daily life of Americans in our demographic; it’s consigned to the nightly news.

Personally, I am more comfortable seeing the broad spectrum. I feel safer and happier knowing what is there than knowing that things are being hidden from me.

I remember, though, when I first visited West Africa in my twenties, needing quite a lot of time to just process what I was seeing. Things are more raw in the rest of the world. Finding language that allows the kids to process this without telling them what to think is my challenge for today.

My other challenge is carbon calculations. The kids at Sri Ram Ashram have had their curiosity aroused by our desire to plant trees to offset the carbon we’ve added to the atmosphere on our plane trip. They need our help to offset the carbon used by their bus and generators for a year. I’m very excited that they will be planting mango trees with us! I’m working-on language to teach the Greenhouse Effect to kids who haven’t experienced a Greenhouse.

Lisa Catterall

  • Leigh Ann Clifton

    I appreciate the perspective you bring to this experience, and your interest and willingness to help the kids in their processing of what they are encountering, many of them for the first time. There is inherent value in their having the opportunity to step outside, first-hand, the sanitized experience of daily American life and have another “real” experience that is so common and usual to much of this planet’s population.

    Yeah for the mango tree planting, planting food and working alongside side others in the fields is a valuable lesson in contributing to the greater good. Good luck with finding hte appropriate language for your Greenhouse Effect lessons.

    Best, Leigh Ann