We are officially back from India! To say that it was an overwhelming trip would be an understatement. This was my first major trip, and in fact, my first trip outside of North America. I went in with as few expectations as possible, as I genuinely had no idea what India would be like once we got there. We ended up experiencing India in such a raw form, that the few expectations I did have were completely blown out of the water. Because I am an international development student that studies poverty, I constantly see pictures and hear stories about communities and individuals who are unable to break free from the poverty trap due to shortages of safe drinking water, lack of adequate sanitation, and poor access to education. To actually see the wells that people drink from, the garbage lining the streets, and the outdoor classrooms of schools, was completely overwhelming.
I was extremely humbled to be in a rural village and have individuals open up their homes to me, showing me each and every one of their belongings, asking me to sit on their beds (which were simple cots with hand-threaded boards), and telling me their stories. All my studies suddenly became real and humanized everything I have learned, simply because of the people I was meeting.
As part of our work with thisvillage, we were able to hear stories from the individuals who are deeply embedded in this poverty, and it was a privilege to listen to their stories and understand their perspectives. I now feel a sense of duty to these individuals, who were so loving and grateful for what little they have despite their poverty.
Nothing makes me feel a sense of urgency to help the world’s poorest people than meeting the individuals personally, shaking their hands, and being a guest in their homes.
— Sara Fournier