India - Dirt, Diarrhea, and Death

Posted on 13/5/08

A note from the author:
I wrote this blog post in my early twenties. My brother was studying to be a doctor at the time and he’d been doing humanitarian work near New Delhi. I flew to India to meet him and backpack together around the country. At the time, I’d never traveled abroad before. I’d never experienced much of anything before, save for a small, narrow minded existence living in Northern Idaho. This blog post is what happens when a 20-something boy (and I need to emphasize the word boy) visits an impoverished country and has no idea what he’s seeing. This blog post is what happens when a childish tourist sees how the other half lives. This blog post is petulant. This blog post is awful.

Since the time of this writing, over a decade has passed. Since then, I've been to Cambodia, Central America, South America, Bhutan, Nepal, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, including the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. I've even been back to India. I’ve seen poverty. I’ve seen the third world. And I’ve learned that most of what I wrote about is not specific to India, nor does it speak to the country as a whole. It’s just a grab bag of bad experiences I had which I used to write shitty, hateful comedy.

What this blog post fails to mention is that I’ve come to love India. I love its intensity, both the people and the culture. I love the rich, beautiful spectrum of humanity that surges through it. And most importantly, I love the fact that India changed me. Visiting India was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. It’s unfortunate that a bratty blog post was how I chose to talk about it.

I’m sorry for punching down. I'm sorry for writing this post.
This is something I'll always be ashamed of.


Update: I know that apologies are inexpensive, but philanthropy is not. For the past year I’ve been making regular donations to GiveIndia and Save The Children India. I know that this doesn’t absolve me for writing this post, nor does it make it any less hurtful, but at the very least it’ll do some good in the world. I've set up a fixed, monthly fund that helps sponsor the college educations for 30 Indian girls, as well as another monthly fund that pays for the care of 30 senior citizens. I’ve set up the fund so it automatically makes a donation every month.

I intend to donate to this fund for the rest of my life.

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