By Margaret Wilson
As I entered the fence of A.N.E.T., researchers immediately welcomed me and the rest of Christchurch students and faculty on the trip. With excitement and passion for their jobs, we were entered into a journey that would teach us about the environment on the islands and how it affects the people who live on them. Throughout the two days in which we were working with the environmental team, I noticed the connections that Christchurch has with this island. Its similarities and differences widened my view on how much the community at Christchurch or near it have access to an environment full of educational experiences that we have such easy access to, just like the environment of the Andaman Islands. Taking the time to learn more about these areas is the difference in the two; one we know a lot about and the other place is very raw to us, giving us an opportunity to learn more about it.
I also became more aware of how important it is to be curious about different aspects of things that are often looked over or not thought about in everyday life, things that are commonly found not as interesting or irrelevant. These realizations came to me through the hard work, passion, and eagerness that the researches expressed, giving us the experience of their appreciation and passion for what they do for a living. I was shocked when the answer to the question of “How much do you get payed?” was “not a good job if you are looking for a good income.” At first I thought of this lifestyle as shocking and hard to comfortably live, but the more I spent with the team, the more I saw their passion for what they did and why money didn’t really matter. For them, research mattered.
Now, as I sit on the porch of our resort surrounded with palm trees full of Enos and the sounds of laughter, the thought of these researchers continues to run through my mind, giving me a new perspective on my life. It has given me a mindset that living a life full of things that I love will make a difference in the way I express my compassion, interests, and connections. Experiencing and getting to see the collaboration that people have with one another in all of the places we have travelled thus far has given me a greater appreciation for everyone. No matter the situation, everyone plays a role in life that will benefit me, and that all depends on the way I approach them. Through the interactions that I have had in my time in India, whether it be with the people of Agora, Suman, yogis in Rishikesh, the villagers from islands, or the A.N.E.T. team, they have all given me an irreplaceable life lesson: to always live what you love through the great gift of learning and experiencing. India has been a great time for me to reflect on a lot of things in my life, but none of them have impacted me greater than the lesson of being able to learn from people who love their lives and give a true meaning of happiness to me. Thank you, India.