As I read and listen to the thoughts and emotions of my peers, a collection of NGO organizers and wise mentors, I realize that hope is the only friend we can relay on when embarking on such large-scale missions for change as the one we currently are apart of.  The number of things in the world that require attention (such as poverty, health care and the environment) can at times feel extremely overwhelming. Just when I feel that I have found a possible solution to the slum situation of Dharavee, I will be hit with another problem, which will be followed by another and then yet another. The issues seem to pile up until I am neck deep and thoroughly confused; my only comfort being the thought of escape. I begin to feel like any work I do, no matter how dedicated, will be worthless due to the reality that I will never be able to help ALL the starving children and animals in the world. There will always be the problem of poverty, there will always be healthcare issues and from the shape of the current world, the environment will continue to suffer. How can I ever possibly hope to put a stop to these situations? Just as my head was about to explode and I was moments away from turning back to the comforting world of Facebook, reality TV and air conditioning, I had a heart changing discussion with one of the many intelligent faculty members on this trip, Andy Housiaux. Mr.Housiaux reminded me that taking a step, no matter how small, no matter how ineffective it may appear in the larger scope of the problems that the world is plagued with, it is never the less a step. Helping three children is always better than helping zero and no matter what obstacles we may end up running up against, it is crucial to stay positive and realize that what we are doing is amazing. It is crucial to have hope. We all find it in different ways, whether it is in the smile upon a child’s face, the increase in their test scores or the large amount of people who are willing to help, hope is what sustains us throughout such draining and emotional challenges as the lack of education and poverty. With this mindset, I hope to stay strong, keep working hard and help as many animals and people as I possibly can.

- Julianna