Thursday, March 3, 2011

Service Above Self

Hello all! Gautam here,
We have just returned from the country on a life changing voyage. To start, I would like you all to think of what the countryside in the United States is like. Most of you would immediately think of vast rich farmland, large fields to herd cattle, a stable for all the animals, and quaint red barns spaced miles apart from each other- in Nicaragua the country is drastically different.

Upon arrival, we were treated with a dry barren wasteland that resembled a desert more than countryside. We took one look at our new home for the next three nights and many were unsure if they could survive. Our "bedrooms" consisted of two classrooms in an abandoned school house with metal bars missing and no lights. To say the latrine was horrid would be an understatement. We had to watch out for Cockroaches and scorpions at night when using the latrine as well as any hens that were too stubborn to leave. The farm animals were allowed to roam freely through the Nicaraguan country, walking into any yard they please to eat and leave ¨presents ¨ on the ground for us to find. We worked all day on assembling the PVC pipes and we were able to finish all of it by the end, which came as a surprise to all of the Aqua Clara staff. The night was really tough on everybody. We were not used to the Nicaraguan country life. We slept on the hard concrete floor and were repeatedly awoken by rooster calls and barking dogs. At this point, almost all of us were skeptical about staying for another night.

The second day in the country was the day we were all changed. In the morning, we were all groggy from lack of sleep and were reluctant to get to work. We eventually made it out to install the filters, and I think I can speak on behalf of the entire group that our attitude drastically changed, Seeing the joy of the families that we were helping by building filters overcame the hardships we faced that previous night. By the end of the night, people were happy and starting to suck it up and really experience the Nicaraguan country life.

The final night was the easiest, though many were badly sunburned. We were able to completely adapt to the lifestyle whereas a few days before there was talk of leaving after the second night. Seeing the families in need of clean water, and seeing how they were living in conditions that Americans would consider primitive. By the end of the day, we were taken by the beauty of the country and we could understand why people would never want to leave it.

With our experience portrayed, you can see what a shock it was for us to come back to a place with running water, clean bathrooms, scarce livestock and beds. So we are all back at the CEPAD guesthouse where we will spend the remainder of our nights in Managua. From all the Rotaract members, we are safe, we miss all of you, and we hope to see you soon.

Abrazos y besos,
Gautam Korakavi

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