Thursday, July 23, 2009

Posting by Allie Medford
Two weeks have passed since we embarked on our journey halfway across the world. As a group, we have experienced the initial culture shock of chaotic traffic, spicy curries, and what we lovingly refer to as "the bobble head." It seems that after we have finally gained some ground, feeling comfortable with both our surrounding culture and ourselves within it, we are preparing for the end of our trip. Tomorrow is the termination of our internships; the culmination of an exciting and challenging week of doing our best to expose small Indian populations to the world of art therapy. Our goals have waxed and waned as we realized that our role was so much more concentrated than "bringing art therapy to India" as we had all originally imagined. My thoughts each day are now consumed with the things I will miss about India: the smiling faces, the simultaneously sweet and sour smells of the street, the exhilarating autorickshaw rides that take me on thrill rides while completing everyday tasks. I wonder how much of myself will stay here. Here, the clock runs on India Time and rides around town cost less than a dollar. Still, the luxuries I thought I could never live without back in the states seem so trivial to the real things people need to survive in the world. I hope to bring back with me the compassion and respect for other people and cultures that I have gained here, both from my internship, as well as from my peers. I hope that, when I return home, I will feel the same sense of possibility every morning and find a really good Indian restaurant that makes masala dosa as well as our apartment staff do. I hope one day to return to India, to revisit the places I have come to know so well in such a short time, and see if the small impact we made here- the murals we left behind, the people we touched, the approach to art we offered to everyone who would listen- have taken root and blossomed into promising outlets for people in need.
Posting by Natasha Nesbeda
Waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the solar eclipse was supposed to be this amazing breath taking experience but to our dismay it was a typical smog filled and hazy Indian morning. We constantly guessed and hoped that we saw the moon slowly pass in front of the rising sun but ultimately we gave up and saw nothing. But when I went to my internship later in the morning the children nonchalantly claimed that they could see it perfectly. Ironically, this morning reminded me a lot of the ongoing theme of our trip. Initially, we were all so excited to come to India to have these amazing life changing experiences and have a profound impact on people's lives here; however, that overall tone changed when we started our internships this week. Some of the sites started the week off with high hopes and optimism, while unfortunately some of us were only met with mixed feelings and doubt. After the second day, it was tough to hear the ongoing discouragement in people's voices, yet today seemed to have an overall different tone. As tiring as it was I realized that I needed to stop looking for a way to make a profound impact and instead enjoy the moments of joy and hopefulness that I was handed. Like the eclipse, today was one of those days where I thought I was seeing nothing, yet when I wasn't looking for anything I tasted the type of experience we all crave.