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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.


Realization is a powerful yet underrated word, we experience it in our everyday lives but it often goes unnoticed.

While on my way to the program house I walk by the river, I have and will always love rivers. Although this one is nothing like my river at home. I see no rocks, just mounds of trash. I see no fish, the only suggestion as to if there is life in this supposed watery oasis is the fisherman further down. That realization saddens me, that this is a resource many communities rely on, and it mustn’t be a positive impact for their health, but how can the community know it any other way? Many grew up with it this way, and others have contributed to the rivers polluted state. My biggest realization to this is that there is no real way of fixing this problem in full. We cannot act as though we are “all-knowing” and tell them what to do, because we simply are not. We do not know the struggle of why it must come to these measures, or how the river got to that state in the first place.

So, instead, I have come to my realization that I am grateful, for being able to see these places, for being able to meet these people, for being able to understand why. Without the opportunities and the realizations I don’t know who I’d be or where I’d be, it certainly wouldn’t here. I can only keep my word that I will do my best, as a daughter of mother earth, to try my best but to never offend, I will not contribute to the mess but will not force others to see my point if they are unwilling. Because a little hope is better than nothing.