Final Portraits of India

The life lessons I learned during my 3 months working for a NGO hospital in rural India were small and simple–but these daily encounters were absolutely necessary for my personal and professional growth. I did not understand what “entitlement” meant before I left to work in India. In the beginning, I met the wealth of typical NGO or “India” problems with frustration and disappointment. For fleeting moments I felt as if I deserved a more organized internship, better research resources, or more caring mentors to help facilitate my thesis fieldwork–just because I was a Penn student. It did not take long for me to realize that I was entitled to nothing. India did not owe me anything, no matter how smart or experienced or hardworking I thought I was. It was me who owed India: a chance, patience, time. Once I did, that was when the grand learning experience began. 

I will never forget the people I met—the faces who greeted me with unwavering smiles and caring eyes, even when I might have not deserved it. After returning home and truly reflecting on my experience in India, I find myself at a loss for words. India touched me in a way that is indescribable. It changed who I am in ways I could never imagine. I could wax poetic about these life-changing experiences or the first world culture-shock I experienced upon my arrival back to America but I feel as if I have spoken enough. Therefore, I will complete my blog posts with a few of my favorite portraits and let these faces tell you a story.

DhanyaVad, India.

Girls doing traditional Kumaoni dances

Girls doing traditional Kumaoni dances

Wendy

Wendy

Reetha schoolchildren

Reetha schoolchildren

Mohan Da wearing my glasses

Mohan Da wearing my glasses

Mohan Da close-up

Mohan Da close-up

wedding scene

wedding scene

little friends

little friends

bridesmaid

bridesmaid

DSCN2605

DSCN2608

DSCN2610

Sadu in Mukteshwar

Sadu in Mukteshwar

Saksham

Saksham

Best momos in town

Best momos in town

Dev

Dev

Dharamsala's best

Dharamsala’s best

Ram Singh Ji and Kunti-Ji, my host parents

Ram Singh Ji and Kunti-Ji, my host parents

The whole family (+ a random man)

The whole family (+ a random man)

One thought on “Final Portraits of India

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Caroline Kee

Located in West Philadelphia, where I attend the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. I am a junior in the 2015 graduating class, majoring in global health and minoring in creative writing. This summer I will be an intern at Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (CHIRAG) in the Kumaon Mountain region of Uttarakhand, India.