In the week leading up to their Grassroots Onsite Work (GROW) Internship, our GROW interns are writing about their thoughts, hopes, and fears for the trip. Here, GROW Coordinator Katherine reflects on preparations for GROW.
India is a place of contradictions – it’s a country containing the 6th largest number of billionaires and 1/3 of the world’s 840 million hungry people simultaneously. Despite being the world’s largest democracy, an estimated 100 million people are treated as objects and involved in trafficking according to former Indian Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta. For everything going right or wrong in India, there always seems to be something to contradict it.
Knowing all this, it’s difficult to know what to know what to expect when we land in Vadodara in a little more than a week. That’s not to say we’re going completely unprepared – we have all spent inordinate amounts of time preparing for and attending weekly GROW meetings over the last 6 months, in which we’ve talked about toilets, the caste system, vulnerabilities, and yoga. We made identity pies, we ate naan, and we perfected the group hug. I couldn’t be more confident in the abilities of our team, yet I still can’t help but feel like I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Slowly but surely, I’m learning that the most important thing we can take with us is the willingness to be wrong.
As the inaugural GROW team being sent to the MINDS Foundation, this year’s interns will establish the partnership and work towards fostering the longer term relationship that sets us apart from most medical mission trips. We’ll see our projects in action and hopefully develop a better understanding of our place in it all. We’ll witness the brilliant people that make MINDS run, humbly taking it all in and hoping to absorb wisdom that we can relay back to the chapter. When we return in the fall, all of us will be better prepared to help our chapter grow and improve (and will undoubtedly possess a newfound appreciation for toilet paper).
At this point, we’ve done about all we can do to prepare for this trip. I’ve surrendered to the fact that the more I learn about India, the less I understand it. It’s going to be overwhelming, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the adventure my beloved GROW team is about to undertake.