It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent over 70 days in a foreign country. Between finishing projects and having our final meals at our favorite restaurants, I lost track of time and my departure time creeped up on me.
India has really grown on me these past few weeks. It has taught me how to increase my spice level, master the head nod, and effectively haggle.
Since I knew this day would come– the day of goodbyes–I have been taking lots of pictures to remember our time in India. Even though some of our favorite moments were captured on camera, the beautiful voices, laughter, and Tamil language that filled our everyday lives were not. In the last 3 days of my stay in Madurai, I tried to document the warm and friendly environment I felt at Aravind. I made a short video of the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and seeing every morning.
On the last day of my internship, I walked into Aravind Eye Hospital like I would any other day. However with every step, it dawned on me how I would never be able greet the MRD sisters walking with their case sheets, or be able to smell the morning Horlicks across the low vision center, or be welcomed by the smiles of the children in the waiting area. But this time, there was a slightly different presence on my walk to the office.
The pediatric waiting room on the first floor greeted me with an upbeat tune. I walked in as the parents and children watched the colorful images play on the television screen. After 10 weeks of collaborating with the pediatric opthalmogisits, my videos were finally finished. Yet, seeing them for the first time on the TV had completely caught me off guard. Soon I was surrounded by doctors who also wanted to view the new addition to the clinic. One of the doctors I had worked closely with over the summer walked up behind me and softly said, “what you’ve done here, this is high impact.” Her words coupled with the parents’ keen attention to the videos brought a lot of joy to the last day of my internship. While I am sad to leave…sad to part ways from the people, the food, the routine..I am so ecstatic and grateful to have been able to leave something positive and beneficial behind.
I’m not the best with goodbyes so I’ll keep this short: Goodbye to the morning heat and tuk tuk honks. Goodbye to the samosas and nightly ice cream runs. Goodbye to the “aunties” and “sisters” of Aravind. Goodbye (for now) to two of my favorite trip planners, trekkers, comedians, and models –Vivek and Olivia.