I came to India three weeks ago slightly terrified but also super excited to see what this beautiful country had to show me. I have yet to be disappointed.
From the chaos that is trying to drive anywhere in a rickshaw on the crowed roads of Delhi to the beautiful lakes and temples in Udaipur I have experienced culture shock in the best way. I've learned how to match my colorful kurtas, scarfs and salwars and how to bargain with shopkeepers for the lowest possible price. Although I stick out with my blonde hair and blue eyes, the people of India have welcomed me to explore their culture and learn from them. I'm here with a group of 16 girls from across the United States and four Indian staff members who are our Hindi teachers, tour guides, mentors and sometimes our parents.
We are studying the public health system in India and have visited slums, rural villages, herbalists, holistic doctors and overcrowded public hospitals. I've had the opportunity to see both the traditional medicine that has been passed down through generations of Indian healers as well as the overworked doctors of the public health sector in the cities. We've had lectures from experts, professionals, teachers and doctors from various parts of India and fields of public health. We go on weeklong excursions to different parts of India to see how caste, religion, gender, class, culture and language affect the social, political and health rights of its people.
The last four weeks of my 4 month journey will be doing either research or an internship somewhere in India in the public health sector, hopefully involving malnutrition and right to health. India has already opened my eyes and shown me both the heartbreaking and the beautiful and I can't wait to see so much more.
Phir milenge! (See you later)