A piece of the elephant

* When thinking of a country such as India I don’t believe it would be appropriate to write an observation based on just my experience in one city. Thus, in order to improve the scope of this piece I would like to focus the lens to my observations on the just the city of Chennai. *

The thing about this trip to Chennai that makes it so difficult on me emotionally is the feeling of helplessness I get when I see young children. There was one particular boy I was visiting that seemed so much like me when I was his age, he was vibrant, attentive, and even a bit mischievous. As I looked at this boy and watched him interact with his classmates and as I got to know him better in my brief stint in the classroom I couldn’t help but feel sad. Here I was watching a younger version of myself all the while knowing that there is very little chance that he ever be able to live the life that I lead. I’ve noticed that in Chennai the social system is set up such that even if a kid such as this does everything the right way there is still a strong chance that he lives life in poverty. Another thing I have noticed is that the school does not allow kids opportunities to learn through sport in their schools. Lastly, I have noticed that the kids in these schools are so grateful for the things they have instead of the things they don’t have.

I guess as I struggle to understand why I have been so fortunate in life the thing that haunts me the most is that others are not. The kids of Chennai deserve better than what they are getting and I am not sure why they are not getting it. Also, why is it that there is no help from other countries and/or donors that would allow kids in these government schools better opportunities. My final question would be why is it that these kids are so grateful and kids in the U.S who have so much so ungrateful?

This lack of help for these kids is hurtful to me. It is most hurtful because I am unable to help them in the way I would like. I am not even able to see the kids again that now mean so much to me. It makes me want to be able to provide for kids like this down the line and I think that is a key take away from a trip like this. I think the pursuit of wealth for a good purpose is the key to having a successful life because it gives you a greater purpose than strictly looking for material gain.

- Andrew R.

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