I’m Abby! Originally from Oakland, CA, I am now a sophomore at a small college located on a little farm in the blue ridge mountains of North Carolina. I just turned 20, and can’t believe the first few months of this year will be spent in India with all of you!
A couple years ago I spent a month in Lucknow, India. I was blown away with Lucknow and have been itching to go back and see more of India ever since! My past trip, though brief, began to open my eyes to the complexities of the vast country- and what Adiche so articulately warns – the “dangers of a single story.” The two home-stays I lived in painted two very different, yet equally interesting and accurate portraits of life in Lucknow- one being an extremely wealthy family with a plethora of servants, and the other a family living on a small mango orchard in the outskirts of town. Both families countered the single story of India that I had been told in the U.S (a story depicting almost exclusively the poverty within the country while ignoring the seemingly infinite amount of differing cultures, life experiences and histories that exist there.)
I agree with Adiche’s observation of the savior complex that exists especially when (white) Americans travel and volunteer in other countries, and have seen how it can be really belittling and insensitive to the people they are trying to serve- who may not need or even want their help. One of the reasons I chose Where There Be Dragons is that the program seems to hold respectful travel as an utmost importance and pushes for, what Adiche advices, engagement with ALL the stories in order to engage properly with the place and the people.
I can’t express how excited I am to learn some of the different stories of India alongside all of you!
See you soon!!