Is Summer Expensive?

         What are you doing over the summer?  My usual reply is: I am going off to summer camps, traveling with my family, and relaxing at home.  Never have I understood that my freedom during the summer and my parents’ fulfillment of my happy and exciting summer is very expensive.

         Instead of leaving my brother and I in front of an iPad home alone, over the summers, my mom would drive us to libraries or send me to writing camps, and my brother to robotics camps.  I was happily enjoying myself at care centers and later maintaining my reading skills at summer camps, unaware that summer was a looming pressure for many families and that there were parents too busy struggling at work to care for their child over the summer break.  I was oblivious to the millions of children in India forced to toil on farms and denied an education.  Summer camp is most likely the last thing on their mind.

         I’m guessing the first thing that came to passerby travelers’ minds when they saw a group of rambunctious American teenagers excitedly and anxiously chattering was, “These teens must be on a summer camp together!” Actually, that was probably second to, “Huh?”  But these were first impressions we left behind at the Boston Logan airport.  When we visit sacred and spiritual places such as the Gandhi Ashram, I do not want to be known as “the group of rowdy Americans.”  And neither do I want to view summer vacation the same again.  Each of us on Niswarth are enjoying part of our summer when learning throughout our journey in India.  We may see that low income families or children living in poverty can have inexpensive, but still fulfilling summers.  Learning during and enjoying the summer does not have to be expensive.  Ms. Tous said to us that throughout this trip, we learn what we truly need

            And so left behind is the clump of noisy American teens.  Left behind are our expenses, phones, comparisons, and our elite school student views of summer vacation.