By Caleb Lewis
This trip has been amazing so far – from the start in New Delhi to going to the Andamans and arriving on Havelock Island. Havelock is beautiful, truly beautiful. The only word that can describe how I see it is unique. When I arrived on the island, I expected a perfect place without trash because of the images on the Internet. But there was trash. The trashy look of some parts of the island made me think for a bit.
Now, when I think of the island I think of it as itself and not as some perfect picture. I see it as unique.
While observing everyone I could on the island, I thought often about what “poverty” looks like. It made me think about how people seemed grateful for their lives, and that they really don’t care if they are “poor” or not so long as they are living their own lives freely.
Observing Havelock really made me appreciate life. It also made me want to take risks to better understand the place (such as getting exotic things on GoPro).
Everyone needs to take risks because if you do not, that means you are not living life to the fullest. To me, getting out of my comfort zone feels great in an odd way.
I’ve always been one of those people who like to get up close and personal with dangerous, interesting creatures, but in a smart way. I used to watch the Crocodile Hunter when I was a kid, and that made me interested in seeing things and also aware of the need to be smart.
When snorkeling on the second day on the islands, I found a lion fish underneath a coral reef. Like always, I had my GoPro on me so I went ahead and captured it on my GoPro. I got as close as I could without being killed by the fish. Lion fish are incredible.
This trip is really adding to my curious side, which in my opinion is a good thing.
After being on the island for four days, I realized how the word community really captures so many situations. When I was leader of the day on our last day on Havelock Island, the group walked to this market and bought a few things. I went up to this clothing shop that had a sign on the door that said “please leave shoes outside.” I left my shoes without even thinking about the risk of someone stealing them – this made me realize that Havelock Island is really just one huge community. After four days, I trusted every person not to steal my shoes.
This trip has really made me go all in with curiosity. By going all out, I mean many things including that I do not really care what I eat anymore. On the second day in we visited this amazing village, Kalapathar Village. We had some free time to explore. Prakash, the most popular and talented dude in the village came up to me and told me to follow him. I followed until he stopped at this random tree. He pulled off a leaf from the tree and told me to eat it. I ate it right away and it was amazing. Then he told me to watch as he took a huge bite out of the bark of the tree. He told me to do the same, and I did. It was amazing – raw cinnamon. While eating some more leaves, he told me to wait and ran off into the jungle. I waited for about three minutes until he came back from the jungle with some odd looking juice. He told me to drink and poured the liquid into my mouth. It tasted surprising at first before I realized that it was fresh mango juice.
It felt really rewarding to go all out in the village. Prakash taught me a lot about the village just by encouraging me to try new things. Later, I was sitting down and just chillaxing when Prakash called my name again. I followed him and got really excited. After a five-minute walk, he pointed up a tree and asked me to pull some big banana leaves off. I cut down four big banana leaves. We then went back to his house, where I realized these leaves would be the group’s plates.
Later, Prakash lead a hike to a beautiful beach near a lush jungle. Along the way, he sang some of his favorite songs to Avery, Trip and me. It was amazing.
When the day was over and we were in our rickshaws back to the hotel (rickshaws are small taxis), Prakash came up to say goodbye to the group. He shook Alice and Evan’s hands and then put both his hands out and asked me to bring my face close. I brought my face close and he quickly grabbed my cheeks and pinched them the way grandmas do in movies. He said “goodbye my friend.”
Prakash and the people of the island are amazing. I am going to miss him and the island as a whole. This experience on Havelock has really changed my perspective on things. Going all out is no longer a questionable thing. It is the only way to really understand and appreciate a place, and it is totally worth the risk!