Raleigh India 2015 — Rebecca McDonald
This summer I went to a rural village in the South of India for 10 weeks with a government funded charity called Raleigh International. Raleigh International focuses on water and sanitation issues in India and several other countries such as Nicaragua and Tanzania. The reason I went with Raleigh is because I study ecological and environmental science and Raleigh is a sustainable development charity. I am very interested in sustainable development in developing countries and it is something I would consider being involved in for the rest of my life. I also wanted to do something useful with my summer and helping to develop a rural village in India seemed like a worthwhile activity. I also wanted to take part in Raleigh for personal development reasons. I was told that taking part in Raleigh would change you as a person. I was skeptical at first but 10 weeks have passed and now I am convinced that it does change you; in the best way possible.
Before I left I was concerned about experience a bad culture shock. I had been warned on my Raleigh training days that this was common and could also worsen homesickness. Whenever I have left home before I have always experienced bad homesickness but I always want to leave the UK to get over this. When I arrived in India I did experience culture shock. However, it didn’t make me feel like I was told it would make me feel. All I wanted was to soak up what I was seeing, smelling and feeling. Everything was different but I loved it and it made me feel happy. I think that the 10 weeks I spent in India have been the happiest of my life because we all felt worthwhile. The team I was working with was amazing, we worked so well together and pushed on even when things got tough and the heat was so intense you felt like you couldn’t breathe. We helped each other get through the bad times and I realized during the 10 weeks just how much a group of people can accomplish and survive when they work together.
I learned so much over the last 10 weeks. I wish that everyone could go out and experience no technology and no contact with home because I think it is the best way to develop yourself as a person and at the same time do something amazing for the world we live in.