Mandalay is Myanmar’s royal city, and we are Mandalay’s loyal weekend warriors. The ten-hour night busses that take us to Mandalay and back to Yangon make for grueling transportation experiences. On a typical Mandalay trip we will spend two nights on busses and one night at a hostel. When we arrive back in Yangon early Monday morning, we emerge from the bus in a zombieish haze and essentially head straight to work from the bus station. After more than ten trips like this, Katie and I have the details dialed: Our favorite hostel, number of melatonin tablets to take on the overnight bus, cheapest motorbike rental shop, everything is dialed.
Selected photos and journal entries from my summer internship with Voice of Children (VOC) in Katmandu, Nepal. The internship consisted of working with street children in the Welcome Center (WC/Drop Center) of VOC, and exploring Nepal with Matt Mcguire (Kathmandudes) and the national staff . Matt worked in the Preparation Center (PC/Rehabilitation Center) at VOC. We lived in a VOC office building along with a family who took care of us. Their son Bibash became our primary cultural ambassador (despite the fact that he consistently referred to us as “baby” [e.g. Bibash: “Why you not add me on that one facebook Baby?” Me: “Bibash, I added you on your first facebook; why do you need 3 facebook profiles?” Bibash: “I know allllllll Baby”]).
Note: In an attempt at recording the full spectrum of my experience, I included some of the darker/culture-shocking journal entries towards the end of this post. I believe that these entries reflect how I felt at the time but not what I believe. I do want to say that, overall, this was a very positive experienced. After I adjusted to the highs and lows of the context, I experienced a sense of peace in Nepal that I have yet to experience anywhere else in world.
My experience in India has really been the backdrop for this semester. Jordan Harris, Sheralee Kerr, and I went to Mumbai for almost our whole Christmas break. Every trip overseas is a life changing experience. Life changing in the fact that the world isn’t at all what you thought it was. You change your mind on what you believe. You find things important that weren’t important before. You become a different person. I don’t know if this is necessarily true of going to European countries or places that live in comfort, but in developing countries; I have never boarded a return flight without being a different person.
Before we left I had a couple of hours to hang out in Chicago. I went to the Chicago Art Institute and just happened to see a statue of Ganesha, one of the most worshipped Hindu gods in Mumbai.
We arrived in Mumbai, exhausted, without bags, and greeted by a sea of diversity.
“First day in India. . . Continue reading