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Photo by Stew Motta, India Semester.

I can’t do manual labor correctly

I can’t do manual labor correctly.

I can write well, and read any book I want.

I can read Latin, which is arguably pretty pointless.

I have access to basically all information, and I can get it within seconds.

But I can’t correctly till the soil on a hillside in northern India.

Today, I was led from the concrete porch of Lakshmi Ashram to a field about seven minutes away. Along with fifteen others, I made my way over the barbed wire and avoided falling in a ditch. Three of the Ashram’s residents handed us tools and instructed us to break up the land. As I excitedly began to do my part, I was approached by the oldest girl and the hoe was taken from my hands. I wasn’t pulling up the dirt correctly. I needed to dig deeper into the soil and strike the ground harder.

I know how to dig.

That was my first thought when I was shown what to do. I’m disgusted with myself. It’s embarrassing enough to say I couldn’t perform a task that people around the world perform every single day, but to for me to think I knew best…

I’ve stacked firewood, shoveled mulch, vacuumed a carpet, and loaded the dishwasher. My physical labor doesn’t get much harder than that.

Sitting here now, in a freezing cold room with a view of the Himalayan mountains, reflecting on my day and writing with my calloused hands, I am humble.