I have learned to withstand hundreds of mosquito and ant bites, leaky faucet showers, and the South Indian heat. I have tested the courage I didn't even know I had last night when I shooed the biggest bug I have ever seen in my life out of the window, even though it took me an hour. I have faced countless ethical dilemmas regarding myself, who I am and the privileged circumstances I come from, while working with this community that has been ostracized from the mainstream society for generations. I have had to remind myself that it's not about gaining recognition for the work I'm doing, but about impacting the community that I was sent here to serve.
I am inspired by all of the people that I've met here. It's absolutely mind blowing that I'm leaving in two days, and that I will eventually, inevitably think less and less about the Narikuravar gypsies as my own life and all the responsibilities that come with it will slowly start to consume all of me. I can honestly say though, that in the last two months, I have been 100% invested in this community. I've spent nights thinking through the many issues and obstacles that this community faces, and reached many frustrating dead-ends in my train of thought. I have been frustrated more times than I can count, but to think that I will leave in two days and never have to directly deal with the community problems again makes me really think. I am in a place where I can just leave, but this is their life. When I start to think this, I almost don't want to leave, like I shouldn't leave; it's not ethical for me to just leave. But I have to. Development is about finding a sustainable solution to poverty, one that the poor can take their own control over. Leaving the people to be empowered and take over their fate themselves is a part of development. It is what i must do, even if I personally feel wrong about it.
I have enjoyed writing in this blog alot. I've never kept a blog before, and I was really worried that I'd be a horrible, boring writer, but thanks ya'll for reading and accompanying me on this journey :)