The Challenge of Change

By: David Samoa

At the first glance, I can see that India is a country that’s known for various of positive and negative things. For example, the cold Himalaya mountains, unique foods, and the nature’s beauty which may not seen by many people. India is also known for the pollution that ruins human health and high population density. But as I spent time in different places of India, I began to understand the importance of Yamuna and Ganges Rivers and traditions to the Indians. These dependencies are probably the main key that shaped India in to the kind of community we know today.

As I traveled with a bus from a big and crowded road of Delhi to a small yet peacefully village, I kept thinking about the connections between the two and what If they were to lose these important variables from their lives?

At first, I didn’t really know what to make of this, but I began to understand everything when I spend my time with the Agoran people and especially my host family. They treated me with respect, care and expected nothing in return, and when the time came for us to repay their kindness, they refused on account of their pride. This is what you called “living up to the expectation of the tradition” and because of this they are so afraid of changes. If they were to adopt a change, it would break the foundation of their community, their trust and allow them to tolerate new changes which may break their traditions. This why they have always been careful with handling a problem. The best example of this was given by Suman. He said that a young man from the community broke a serious community value, and as a result of this he was exiled from the village and forbidden to comeback ever again.

The same thing also happened in Delhi and many other cities. Even though their lives are more moderate compared to the people in Agora, the people in the city heavily depend on the river and religion. The people value the Yamuna River and Ganges River and the others so much, that they think it is alive and can clean itself. Even though, I know for a fact that it is really polluted and the river does not have that kind of ability. But this is something the Indians believe. And if the government were to start a big project to clean up the river, the people will start to deny the fact that the river is alive and can clean itself.  They might not able adapt to this new change.

A change that Agora is facing is the road that is soon going to link the village to the city rather than a footpath down the side of the mountain. I am really interested in challenges that come with change because I have seen and experienced how a change in one community can bring negative and positive influences. I value Agora because this place reminds me so much of a community that I used to live in when I was young. A place that is now being controlled by new bad influences. The thing that started the change was curiosity.  I hope that the new road coming to Agora brings with it a curiosity that leads to good things.

3 thoughts on “The Challenge of Change

  1. Nice post, David. I am personally afraid of a road to Agora. I guess we all want to treasure it as it is. But change is inevitable and can bring cool opportunities to those folks, even though it will mean work/life balance, traditions, and the ways of living will change. I hope they can absorb it gradually and gracefully and not lose their great spirit.

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  2. David, I was not aware that the people of India, generally, believe that rivers can clean themselves! As a person who is very cautious and slow-thinking, I am always conflicted and yet exhilarated by change. In your young life, you have already thoughtfully experienced many different cultures and places. You have so much to contribute to any discussion, and I hope that we will hear more from you in the year and a half before you graduate from CCS! Great post!

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  3. David – When Mr. Cola told me about the new road, my first thought was “Ohhhh NOOOO!” They have so much to lose but…so much to gain also. I agree with Mr. Byers. I pray they can absorb it gradually and that “progress” will affect them positively. You have been blessed to live “the Agora experience” at an incredible time in their history…right on the cusp of big changes to their history. I hope you will be able to return to Agora in your future – 10 or 15 years down the road (no pun intended!) – and chronicle how life has changed for these sweet, trusting, loving, fascinating people.

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