By Ignacio “Nacho” Rodriguez

Two months ago, I never thought I was going to live this experience. When Mr. Alter convinced me to jump down to India, I had a lot of questions. Some of them were my own questions and some were from other people – like, I’m going to die? I’m going to get sick? How are the people? etc…

Coming to this type of trip makes your vision of life way different than staying home all the time. Something that surprises me a lot are the traditions the locals have. For example, when we arrived and stopped to eat breakfast, I observed that local people were only using their right hand to eat, your left is to get water and use napkins. They use their fingers to eat, no knifes or forks. When it’s time to clean yourself, they fill buckets of water to take showers – using water we can’t drink if it’s not filtered because we’re not used to it and it makes us sick. These simple things were quick ways that I felt how different life is.

We later arrived to Pancheswar, where we stayed in tents right next to a river. The beach was incredible and I while we were there I saw the most beautiful sunset I had seen in my life. There was also a village right next to us where we went multiple times. We visited it to talk with a lot of different people, from a 84 year old man who was extremely happy with his life, to little boys and girls that we were teaching them how to swim.

Thursday, June 8 I was leader of the day. We woke up early that day to go to the confluence where there are two rivers that join together to clean all the trash that there was. We picked so many old clothes, papers, fishing stuff and more. We were there for 3-4 hours.

We went back to the camp and after lunch we decided to play volleyball at 2pm with 95°. It’s amazing how easy it is to win against Mr Alter, he lost every single game.

After playing, we decided to go to the village, to the local school to pick up trash. After finishing cleaning everything the teenagers and little kids told us to play a new game with them. We were curious about what was it. The kids explained it to us, using the limited English they had. There were rocks, a ball and a lot of running involved. We didn’t realize how difficult and technical you have to be to play. From the smallest to the oldest they had an amazing capacity to play really good and there we became not the focus but just a small group of other people, trying to figure it out. After a couple of hours playing under the sun it was getting dark and we needed to leave.

When we told them it was time to go, my heart dropped down because of their faces. They were extremely sad – so sad that even after saying goodbye for the fifth time, they decided to walk all the way back with us. They gave us their phone numbers to keep in touch and of course we got a lot of good memories.

With all these things, I hope you can see that I’m trying to explain how different this trip really is – the experiences, traditions, people, views, etc… I want you guys to know how good and spectacular things you can see or feel or experience outside your comfort zone. I had some questions to start but I didn’t even know what kinds of things I would take away.

One response to “Differences & Similarities – What I Took Away so Far”

  1. Mollie Avatar

    Nacho, I enjoyed reading your post because I felt like I was reading a letter that you wrote to your friends back home and at CCS. Who knows maybe you will inspire a friend to discover something “spectacular” by stepping outside of their comfort zone. Thank you for the reminder to pay attention and to take new opportunities when they arise, even if the outcome is unknown.

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