My love of travel, exploration and health education has taken me to an entirely new part of the world, to a country bustling with life. India is home to nearly 1.2 billion people and well known for being infinitely diverse, with a wide array of social and familial customs, religious beliefs, cuisine and language varying across each state. There is so much to learn and so much to take in! Your senses are immediately overwhelmed by the sea of vibrant colors, strong smells, the incessant sound of car horns and booming music and most notably, by the masses of people maneuvering through what you can only hope is some sort of organized chaos.
I have heard before that the challenge for those traveling to India for the first time is in merely coping with your new environment. That the ones who survive are those brave enough to dive head first into the chaos. And so it would have to be that instead of succumbing to the madness, I would use this approach and learn how to adapt. Patience and an open mind were crucial.
This being my second global health education program with Child Family Health International (http://www.cfhi.org), I was so curious how my feelings at the end of this month long trip would compare with my impression throughout the first week. As I have learned through experience, spending a prolonged amount of time in one place can bring about dramatic changes and a whole host of unexpected emotions. For the most part, I have always been pleasantly surprised at the outcome of each trip and know better now than to hold on to any initial thoughts and feelings because almost always they develop into something entirely different.
And so with fear coupled by excitement, I dove head first into the whirlwind that is India, surrendering gracefully to the power of this experience.