A Heart for the Untouchables

On December 7, of this year I will be travelling with 11 other people to go on a service learning trip for two weeks to visit one of the lowest caste systems in India and make an impact on the local people there. Our mission is to help build a community center and garden for the locals where they can have meetings, play games and activities, and have a safe place to spend their free time.

The idea was brought up by our team leaders at the beginning of the year (last school year). They heard about the poverty situation and how their Indian community is all but forgotten by any officials who live there, that is where they got the names “The Untouchables”. I heard about this service learning trip by reading fliers around campus. Seeing pictures of the local children really struck me, and that’s what motivated me to want to apply and be a part of the team. I wanted to see more of the world first hand and see how different it can be from my comfortable life.

Figuring out who all was going on the trip was one thing. Funding the trip was another thing. We came up with fundraisers throughout the summer and all of this Fall term was a challenge. We came up with all sorts of ideas. From video game tournaments to donut sales, and even dancing to Dallas. All our fundraisers couldn’t have been done without the help of each other as a team.

Team leader Eli raising funds by dancing to Dallas
Team leader Eli raising funds by dancing to Dallas

Between fundraising and figuring out travelling arrangements we needed to immerse ourselves in the Indian culture. We couldn’t just show up not having a clue about their background and culture. So our sort of side project was to learn different mannerisms and what not to do while in India. We were also given a book by one of our team leaders called Half The Sky which delves deep into the hardships of the lowest population in India, where every day is a struggle.

Overall this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit a country I’ve only heard about on television. I will travel with a group of other students and faculty who want to change the world for the better even if it’s only a small thing. We have been preparing months for this day and now it is only a little over a week before we go.

India Team
All but one of the team that is going on the trip

I will definitely make a post trip blog post so stay tuned for pictures and cool stories.

Watch our video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUzMuMv9RCY&feature=youtu.be

By Kevin Gutierrez

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