By Blair Pausic
Today, we travelled back to the jetty where the ferry dropped us off on Havelock Island. While we were there, we had the opportunity to talk and learn more about the people. We began our adventure at the Moonlit Sands with Joseph, the manager of the resort. He spoke of the tsunami in 2004 and the effects it had on his business and home. Afterwards, the teachers and students went separate ways. We, the students, were tasked with not only finding multiple people to talk to, but also to find food for each person using only 200 rupees, a hard task. Hannah and I wandered the busy streets dripping in sweat until we came across an ice cream shop. It’s not recommended to eat dairy on the trip, but it isn’t dangerous to your health to just look or feel the cool air of the air conditioning. We spoke to the woman working behind the counter. She was twenty-three years old and had moved to Havelock two years prior to living in Port Blair. She not only said she liked Havelock more, but she said that she liked it more because of all the tourists that visit year round. I found this really surprising because where I am from, we see tourists as annoyances and pests that crowd our little town. It was difficult for me to believe that her reason for liking Havelock was the thing I dislike most about the area surrounding where I live. The more I thought about her answer, the more I realized that her reason kind of made sense. She lived on a beautiful, secluded island and was visited by people from all around the world, creating new relationships, and being exposed to multiple different cultures.
While the town is filled with different languages, races and cultures, the beach we visited was quiet and peaceful. It only took a short jungle walk to get there. Sitting in the sand, it seemed like any other pretty beach because all I saw in front of me was white sand and clear water, which can usually be found in any beach on the Gulf side of Florida. But, when I looked at my surroundings, I was brought back to the reality and surrealism of my situation. The jungle surrounded us, coral was poking out of the water beside us, and the beach was mostly deserted. Being in India has been the most amazing thing I have ever experienced, and I’ve only been here a short time. I’m looking forward to spending more and more time in India, making more new connections and building old ones.