by Dustin, DTS student
It’s exactly 8:30 in the morning. I know this because I can hear a street vendor singing her wares while she walks past our home. Like every morning, she’s balancing a large basket of greens and hollering the lilting advertisement. I smile because this simple, foreign moment feels so familiar–she reminds me of our school director, Paul, who would walk up and down the hallways back home yelling his now famous sing-song “Come oooon every body! It’s time for class!”
Little reminders of home are comfortable in a land so foreign. Even the dry-cold winter weather feels like home.
Our first week in Gaya, India, my team and I got to know the culture. We went to the temple where Buddha found enlightenment and visited a leper colony. We prayed for an elderly woman with a slipped disk in her back and rejoiced when she was healed. Every day is a fresh experience.
The first days were the most shocking: every day life was so fast. Like driving, for instance. Driving these streets is an impossible dance through a moving traffic jam. It’s a fast-paced game of chicken, where the biggest car always wins. The collection of horns—always honking and beeping and blaring tunes—plays the symphony of the streets.
Today we visited the market. The maze of shops and shanties in the streets are a total assault on every one of the senses. I haven’t seen anything like it before, so the best way I could describe it is by calling it a permanent street fair. People haggle over prices, linger over colorful saris, and scurry from vendor to vendor, avoiding bicycle rickshaws, animals, children, and cars.
The streets and villages are a canvas of green—every green I can imagine.
No experience in my life thus far can compare to what I’ve experienced here. I love this nation—so foreign and colorful, with flavorful food and warm-hearted people. India is a world 100% its own, full of inspiration.
I thank God for the blessing of simply being here!