By Reed Grim

When I first got to this trip, I really wasn’t thinking much. I knew that it would be a challenge for me to go through this trip but it has not been what I expected. It has been way more impactful. The day I was leader, I met a man, he was wise and had only a few words to say but whatever he said always absorbed into my mind’s value. He told us 4 import rules to achieving happiness:

1. Have a spouse

2. Make sure you have obedience that’s gained

3. Have good resources and

4. Make sure you have a healthy body.

I can assure you that this old man has stayed true to his word and lived up to his full potential. He lives a basic life but he is deeply happy and healthy.  Before really thinking about him, I always thought I needed so much in order to fulfill happiness but I’ve now learned that you really only need 4 simple things to have happiness. 

When I move around India, I can see that people are related and close to their environment. But it’s also complicated. Sometimes we don’t take into consideration the bad parts of certain places – the advantages and the disadvantages of Indian villages. When we were hiking up the mountain I saw so much trash on the ground. This makes me think that people don’t take care about their country as much as they should. But they also have the advantage of being in the mountains far away from all the loud city sounds and pollution. I can go on about how people can relate to their place and how the people shape the culture or how they all have been doing the same things for generations. The history here is obvious – the wise man said his house was over a century old. But instead of going on and on, let me just say that all of this experience so far has improved me as a person whether it was hiking up a mountain or playing cricket for the first time. It’s crazy to think that we have so much yet so little. All of these experiences have shown me that we have so many resources and facilities compared to the people in the village, who have practically nothing but stay so much more positive and happy. 

Before I go on, I want to give a shoutout to Seaborn because he was part of the reason why I’m here. What he told me back on campus to convince me to come I couldn’t imagine or understand. I couldn’t absorb the meaning of seeing elephants, and going up to villages where the people haven’t seen part of the western world. I didn’t believe it but he told me that the experience has changed him dramatically from start to finish and I decided to trust him. 

Besides observing, I’ve learned the most from hiking because we are so bad at it. Our group did this hike the other day with a 16 year old kid named Rahul. Rahul is a mountain boy and a villager at the same time. He’s learned so much just from being outside on his own and keeping track of his time. He has learned to do backflips, cartwheels, and even running and jumping while doing a front flip over 3 people. He’s a true machine and he really showed me what potential the human body actually has. Rahul is able to run up and down a mountain for 6 miles – twice the distance that we could barely hike. When we made it half way, my water bottle was bone dry and he still had a full water bottle. I was amazed at how he had such a small amount of water over such a long hike. He told me he does this almost every week and sometimes without water and sprinting like an animal up and down the mountain. When we reached the top, he started doing handstands and backflips. We were amazed and I have never been so humbled in my life from an experience.

I was able to see Rahul’s house and his little village that he lives in. I felt so different but at the same time comfortable with how the people treated me. His mom made me tea and told me about his cows and animals that he takes care of. He has an amazing small little garden which his brother and friends will help with. Everyone in his village was always smiling and happy, I don’t think anything is going to stop Rahul and his village from thriving anytime soon. 

The overall experience has truly changed me. The perspective on how different their lifestyle is in the village is going to keep making me think. I can’t wait to see what comes next and the journey ahead of us.

3 responses to “Lessons & Lifestyles”

  1. Haley Wilbanks Avatar
    Haley Wilbanks

    There have been so many good blog post titles with alliteration this trip – Mr Alter’s description of “cleaning the confluence”, Davis’ “motivating model”, Blake’s “confident comfort” and now your “lessons and lifestyles”. It’s great to read about how you’re noticing the different ways people and place come together in India, where it’s so complicated! Now that you’ve gotten to know Suman and Praveen outside of their home village, I hope you really pay attention to how they come alive when they’re in Agora. Watch them walk the paths, interact with friends, know the ecosystem – and hopefully through those observations you will continue to find even more layers to that idea of what it means to belong to a place.

  2. Mollie Avatar

    Reed, that wise man may have only shared a few important words with you, but it appears that you are observing and experiencing so much throughout this experience in India. I hope that you keep coming back to that short list and thinking about your short list. Maybe you should write your own list to achieve “happiness” before the trip ends and you come home.

  3. Cola Avatar

    Good on you for allowing yourself for think and grow from being humbled!

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