“What will my impact be?”
This question is one that weighed on my mind throughout the entire time I was in Udaipur. The impact could be the work I completed for Jagran, an organization that has an advanced understanding of what sustainable social impact can look like. Or it could be in how I present myself, my responses, values, and motivations; all of which become extensions of the United States since that is what I am seen to represent in this context. The latter aspect alone can have major implications considering that Americans are treated with very high regard in the country.
Now that I have been back in the United States for a little over 2 weeks now, I’ve decided that it is all of these things and more. You can never really know the extent of your impact, which is not always as widespread as you expect it to. When you travel for any type of purpose, the greatest amount of change will occur within yourself as an individual. The experiences you have and the people you meet will stay in your mind for the rest of your life. Traveling with a purpose will always best be quantified by the changes that occur in your life because it’s extremely difficult to accomplish the extremely high goals we set for ourselves when we start out.
As I mentioned in my last post, I sent in a proposal to a potential funder for the microfinance program. I found out on Monday, December 10th that the proposal was accepted, and the organization was approved for a major loan from an Indian-based organization. While this wasn’t the outcome I had expected when I began the internship, it is something I had never expected to be able to achieve within this time frame. And for that I have to thank the people who were most responsible for enabling this accomplishment.
First off, I want to thank the Lumos Foundation for funding the trip and providing me with this life changing opportunity. Also, I wish to thank everyone I met and became friends with in India; my time in India would not have been as fulfilling without you all. Last (and far from least) I would like to thank all of my family and friends in the US who continued to give me mental support even though we were half a world apart.
I’ll end on a quote from the author Tahrir Shah that I feel does an adequate job of attempting to summarize the impact India has made on my own life.
“Time spent in India has an extraordinary effect on one. It acts as a barrier that makes the rest of the world seem unreal.”