My travels to Kolkata, India with 14 other friends and teachers from my school opened my eyes to what most of the world lives like. I now realize how truly blessed I am! I have also learned that life is not about serving me; it’s about serving others, and turning the blessings I have been given into blessings for those who need them most. I loved it there, and even though the culture shock was very hard at first and it was a total sensory overload, India feels like a second home for me now. I would go back in a heartbeat because the joy I found there and saw in the people of Kolkata was unlike any joy I could find in America. It’s joy that cannot be satisfied by any material things, but by love and attention. I found that the more I made them smile, the more they made me smile.
It was a really hard start to the trip because before we even left our own state, Colorado had one of the biggest storms in its history. We were stuck in DIA for 18 hours, having to sleep on the ground… that was an experience. We finally made it one step further to LAX, soon to find out that we had no tickets to get to Tokyo. After two days we left LA, went through Tokyo, but then got stuck again in the Bangkok Airport. The beginning of the trip was the most stressful thing I have had to endure in my whole life, but it was a great bonding experience for the team. Then, finally, we were able to get tickets to Mumbai, India and then Kolkata, India on Air India, the scariest plain ride of my life. When we landed, six days later, someone told us that one of Air India’s planes crashed the day before. I can now say that my biggest nightmare is airports!
The two days of Vocation Bible School for kids in the slums were what made the trip so amazing for me. There were more than 400 kids, ages anywhere from 3 to 18 years old, packed into one room with no air-conditioning. It was probably the hottest day of my life, but one of the most fun days ever. We started out by leading the kids in worship with hand motions because most of them did not speak English very well. After that we split up the younger kids from the older kids and did crafts and took pictures and just hung out with them. I was surprised to see that even the older girls and boys were really into it and loved the crafts. Right then I realized that that’s because nobody does anything like this for them. I later found out that Valor Christian High School is the only group that comes into this slum and does something like this. It just goes to show that there is so much that people can do all around the world for people like this. We even gave them a huge meal, because on average these children get ¾ of a meal a day, and some days they don’t even get to eat. But it does not slow these kids down because they are the happiest kids I have ever met. I would give anything to go back because a chance to change someone else’s life is a chance to change my own.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
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