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Tigers in India: A Life-Changing Journey

By Vraj Patel
6/26/2013, 273 views

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As I packed my bags the night before heading to the airport to fly to India, I knew I was in for a life-changing experience. Sure enough from the first day in the country and onward, that is exactly what I received.  

The first week of our two-week trip consisted of sightseeing, traveling, and an endless amount of learning. Our group was able to travel to cities in the northern part of India such as Alwar, Jaipur, and Agra. These cities were very interesting and unique in their own ways. Each had a profuse history, along with a nice modern touch.

In Jaipur, we saw Amber Fort, a very old fort used in war. We had the opportunity to ride elephants, which was a unique experience most of our group members had never had before. Then in Agra, we were able to visit the famed Taj Mahal. Everyone in our group was fascinated at the sight of it, and I’m sure at least 1,000 pictures were taken between everyone in the group. The food at the restaurants was incredible, and we were able to get the true taste of Indian food.

Throughout our five-day journey, however, it wasn’t the monuments that we will recall to the most extent. Along with the sightseeing, we were able to interact with the rural community, and have a first hand look at their lifestyle. It was simply amazing to see how the community comes together as one, and how they make the most of what they have. No matter their living conditions, they always greeted us with a great smile, and had a very happy, open-minded attitude.

Their children were very willing to interact with us, and it was a great feeling to see the huge smiles on their faces when we gave them candy. At the end of the first week in India, I could definitely sit back and think what we all had experienced; it was quite a lot. However, the single thing that planted itself in my mind was the rural community. They were as happy as anyone with more things than themselves, and it really made me realize how blessed I am to have many things given to me. Seeing all of this really humbled me, and further enriched my experience in India.

Although the first week was very eventful and full of many fun things to see and experience, the second week is the reason why our group made this journey halfway across the world. I had been looking forward to meeting and interacting with the kids at Sulabh Public School since I had first heard about the trip. We were greeted by the kids and staff like they had known us all of their lives.

I, along with the rest of our group, quickly learned that the kids at Sulabh had many special things to offer. They are some of the most friendly, welcoming, and intelligent kids I have ever met. Working with them really warmed my heart, as I saw the smiles on their faces when they played on our iPads, iPhones, and Macs. The kids were eager to learn, interact and even teach us new things from the first day. They helped us learn cricket, some Hindi, and even some cultural ideas. The friendships we have created with the children will forever be remembered. Our group has been extremely fortunate, and completely inspired and touched to work with these great children.

Having been to India two previous times, I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect culture wise. However, this trip had stood out to me in such an inspiring and unique way. The experience as a whole, along with the amazing group I was able to go with, was completely life changing. I am so grateful to the Singh family and the Darlington Community for embracing this unique experience and providing the opportunity for us to have these life-changing two weeks in India. The memories will be forever remembered and cherished.

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