Today was our last full day here in Kolkata. Since Thursdays are when Mother Theresa’s Homes are closed, the entire group went site seeing. This was extremely exciting not only because we got to do some more site seeing of this beautiful city that we have been serving in for three weeks, but we were finally all together again. We’ve had some sickness making its way through our group, but everyone was finally healthy and ready to go on an adventure today! This adventure included spending the day on the Ganges and walking across the Howrah Bridge. The Ganges is a very sacred river in the Hindu faith, and it was quite an honor to be able to see it today. The river is considered to be very pure, and many people bathe in the river because of this belief. However, the river is one of the most polluted in the world. Thousands of tons of garbage and waste is dumped into the river every year, despite the river being sacred and even granted person-hood status by the Indian Government. Even though it was the most polluted river in the world, it was absolutely gorgeous. The sight of the river while walking over the Howrah Bridge was breathtaking. The bridge spanned across the entire river and allows for people to walk over the river and see the beauty that it still holds.
After this wonderful and sunny morning we went back to the Ganges later in the day to go on a boat ride! This was a surprise our leaders had planned for us, and we were all really excited to be taken on the Ganges. However, right before we went to get on the boats, the skies opened up and it started pouring. We took cover under a couple of trees, since not a single person had an umbrella or rain jacket. We must have looked absolutely ridiculous to the locals walking around with their umbrellas. Then we decided to try and take cover under some awnings. We went one way, found out there were no awnings in that directions, and then had to turn around and walk even further to the covering near the train tracks. Needless to say, every single person got absolutely drenched, and we were unable to go on the boat ride. This was because, along with the downpour, there was also thunder and bolts of lightning streaking across the sky. Despite all of this, I was happy to see everyone in the group was happy, laughing, and joking about how we looked like drowned rats. Even as we attempted to wait out the storm, we all took the time to enjoy each other’s company and reflect on the already wonderful day we had. We eventually decided that waiting out the storm was pointless and we made for the road to try and grab taxis home. Hopefully the rain holds off tomorrow and we can do these boat rides then before we go to the airport instead. All in all, I think this was one of the more fun and silly days that the group has had here in Kolkata.
Now as we all pack up to come home there is a sense of melancholy in the air. There will be no more days touring Kolkata, time spent with the Mother Theresa Homes, and no more card games at BMS. Though we are excited to come home and share the absolutely amazing, terrible, inspiring, and beautiful stories we have from Kolkata; I think we are all pretty sad to be leaving this amazing city. As well as the wonderful people who have shown us how to take action to make a change, how to love and care for those discarded by everyone else, and how beautiful of a city Kolkata truly is. I know personally, I have been changed by this trip and hope to carry on the legacies of the wonderful charities and volunteers we worked with these past three weeks. I am also excited to bring back the wonderful and beautiful stories that show the world how amazing a city like Kolkata or a river like the Ganges is, despite the bad press they get. Our group will truly miss you Kolkata!!
Rebecca Holland '18
Rebecca Holland '18