This is a Guest Post from Adrienne Mavalwala. After raising money for CHI through a bottle drive that her children held, Adrienne and her family volunteered for a mini internship at our children’s home in Kaliyampoondi, India. She and her husband and their three children spent two amazing weeks with the staff and children – helping out, having fun, and learning a great deal. Here is a little piece of Adrienne’s story – read more on their personal family blog – Five for India.
Everyone seems to want to know if our experience at Child Haven changed us, and how it changed us. And, the answer is yes! Absolutely! For sure the experience changed us! How? In so many ways it’s hard to count. India isn’t the sort of place you forget easily, if ever, so I think our family will continue to learn, appreciate and gain perspective for a long time to come.
But, if I had to pick the one way in which we were most affected, it would be this…
The other day my husband’s boss was describing all the companies that fall under the parent company they work for. He used an expression he had heard while in India, “Same same, but different’’. I had to smile because I too had heard this expression.
One of the last days we were at Child Haven my friend Kalli had just finished wrapping me up in a sari. We looked in the mirror to check ourselves out and there we were…Kalli with her dark skin and black hair…me, pale and blonde…Kalli, with no education and impoverished…me, educated and who will never want for anything…Kalli, forced to marry at 15 and have children…me, free to choose whomever I wanted and I didn’t even start having my kids until I was twice her age!
But, there we stood, looking at our reflections, and each in our own language, grumbling and griping about our weight, hair and complexions. She squeezed me and said, “Same same, but different”.
Despite being mind-boggling WORLDS apart, we both have hopes, fears and dreams, both for ourselves, and for our children. We have nothing in common, yet we have so much in common. If the experience taught me anything, it was that. I realize now how important it is to be open to other people and experiences so we can make those connections and gain a little understanding of each other, learn from each other, and dare I say, like, or even love each other.
‘’Same same, but different’’. Keep that in mind. No matter what you read in the newspaper or see on T.V. about foreign countries…know that there are girls, women, boys and men who are just like us.
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