Life in Color
It’s been a little over a week since our arrival in Kolkata, and with pretty limited wifi I should throw out this disclaimer: hi mom, I’m still alive and well! Anyway, the time we have spent here so far has been pretty amazing and extremely eventful, and I won’t be able to put into detail everything I have experienced thus far. This, added to the fact that Nick and Abby (and Andrea and Alyssa, shoutout to my housemates) have all described our activities inside and outside of work much better than I could have hoped to, means this blog post will mainly be a reflection of some things that have stuck out to me.
Kolkata itself is a wonderful city. Its bustling streets and exotic sounds have truly been a shock to the senses, but not necessarily in a bad way. I feel overwhelmed walking around town and riding in Ubers, because there is so much to see and hear. For example, Kolkata’s buildings are an explosion of color, as seen at this temple:
Like every big city, it has lots of good and lots of bad, and does so in excess: so much vegetation, so much poverty, so much color, so much chaos. The main aspect that sticks out is the fact that the city and its people have so much life: there is always something going on and there is always someone to help you when you need it. Last week, someone walked our direction just to show us the route to a restaurant; another person showed us the ropes of riding the metro. Who does that? Not something you see every day in the States.
Working at ASED has been equally as great as living in the city. Diti, Aarti, and Sunil (and Kushal and Pitsie) have welcomed us with open arms at the office and Nick, Abby, and myself would like to think we are working hard and helping out where we can. Diti often talks about the purpose of ASED and their flagship program, the Green Rhinos: do you look at nature differently? Did the lessons penetrate your psyche? To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I would look at nature differently, but it’s hard not to observe and compare India to the United States in regard to their respective environments. The U.S. is by no means perfect from an environmental standpoint, but India has one major ecological problem: there are too many ecological problems. It seems impossible to tackle an environmental crisis when you have to try and mitigate a multitude of serious problems that are affecting India so aversely. That being said, you have to start somewhere if you want to make a dent, and the fact that ASED is educating youth to be leaders with a passion for nature makes me hopeful for the future.
Barring some minor allergic reactions, some mainly minor mosquito bites (Abby’s eye is almost back to normal), and getting lost approximately one hundred times, we’ve been having a blast and are excited for what the rest of the experience has to offer.