The little brown girl from my volunteering trip changed my life

By TARA GUPTA ’16

Staff Writer

Jason Russell of Kony 2012 fame in Uganda by Alexa J. Williams '14 Arts Editor

Jason Russell of Kony 2012 fame in Uganda
by Alexa J. Williams ’14
Arts Editor

Dear International Communities Foundation,

I want to take this opportunity to write you a letter while I’m still in India about my Teach The Children trip through the International Communities Foundation. Before this trip, I had never been to the eastern hemisphere of this beautiful place we call Earth. As soon as I landed here, I realized how good I have it back home where I have a great education, healthy and readily available food and a loving family. I’ve always been in school, but never quite learned about people like Lakshmi, a little girl I met on my service trip in a village in Jharkand. I’ve met so many amazing volunteers like myself who just want to make a bit of a difference in the lives of people who don’t have it as good as us. Together with my fellow volunteers, I built a well to provide the village with a consistent water source. We were able to bring all the necessary materials from the United States, so the village will have the highest-quality well possible. I got to eat tons of new foods that I’ve never tried; I got to see the most beautiful temples in all of India. And I got to get authentic henna on my hands.

Lakshmi has taught me to really value the little things: birds in the sky, leaves on trees and especially family, which is the most important thing in life. Her beauty and simplicity transcends space and time; I made my profile picture a picture of the two of us, and the comments and support I got from friends back home were overwhelming. I feel as though I was personally responsible for leading her to new understandings of the world around her.

I also wanted to tell the International Communities Foundation that I have recently accepted a spot at the University of Chicago Business School starting next fall. I would not have been able to do this without all of the valuable lessons I learned on my Teach The Children trip. I learned about the ways that international economies affect one another and how I can be a better business person and consumer. I’m dying to take another trip to India and build even more wells with even more purpose and soul. If I can’t, though, I want to do Teach for America or something!

Namaste,

Wendy Wellesley

Wellesley College

Class of 2014

Economics & Sociology Major

President of Wellesley Finance & Consulting Club

Dear International Communities Foundation,

Thank you for exposing me to exotic people from the United States; my life was really lacking diversity. I wanted to write to you about two things. One, I had to miss a religious holiday and my cousin’s wedding to do activities with the visitors. As much as I love playing ice breakers and taking strategically filtered profile pictures, I was really trying to spend some time with family since I rarely get time off of work or school. Second, one of the bricks from the well broke. We tried making a similar brick to no avail. Can International Communities Foundation send us a new brick, or maybe several in case it happens again?

I am pretty happy that my nameless face has made it to Facebook. Luckily, the stray goats and beggars that were behind us when we took the picture aren’t in the actual profile picture. The caption ‘Built a well for this beautiful little angel who has taught me so much’ makes my heart almost as warm as my tin roof in the summertime.

Also, your organization told our village’s mothers not to let us young girls skip school for work, but we would go to school if we had teachers who weren’t three-week volunteers whose only knowledge of elementary education is what they learned in SOC 101: World Education and You.

Kind regards,

Lakshmi

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