This January we hosted students from Sacred Heart University for two weeks. Here are the students’ reflections about their experiences here. Enjoy!
My favorite experience was going into the villages and meeting the people who benefit from the knowledge of the Village Health Workers. It was amazing to see the influence one person can have on the community, using the knowledge they learned to become self-sufficient within their own village. Another favorite part of the trip was hearing the different stories from the Village Health Workers. Their experiences influenced who they are and gave them the drive to help others within their communities. For many of them, they have been silenced for a majority of their lives and it was amazing to see how they’ve overcome that with the help of CRHP. They’ve become an advocate for members in their community and did not let their negative experiences influence who they are today. I was inspired to here all of their stories and it gave me happiness to know that they’re living their lives differently today and sharing their stories of resilience.
I was most shocked by how different the culture was in India. No prior class, presentation, or video could have prepared me for how much coming to Jamkhed put me out of my comfort zone. That being said, I was very grateful for this very educational and humbling experience. I did not realize how strong and persistent my own cultural lenses were until we came to Jamkhed and listened to testimonies of the village health workers and observed them as they performed the village surveys. It challenged me to be understanding of, and open to, the strong cultural perspectives of other people, especially that of the people I encountered in Jamkhed. It taught me a valuable lesson on the importance of cultural sensitivity in healthcare, even just in general. I found myself to be very appreciative of their very different cultural perspectives and beliefs, as well as become more reflective on my own.
This entire experience was a life lesson. The sense of community and hospitality that was practiced in Jamkhed has left a large impact in my life. Returning to the United States, nothing was the same, no friendly hellos or head nods while walking down the streets of New York, just a cold shoulder. Being welcomed into people’s homes and offered tea (no matter what the time or occasion) is something you will rarely experience while in the states. What I have learned is that in order to be welcoming, you must treat others like they are family, and welcome them with open arms. Another great takeaway is that even a simple smile can communicate a large sense of comfort, no matter what the situation may be.
I am thankful for the opportunity to have stayed in Jamkhed and contribute to CRHP’s mission to empower communities to eliminate injustices. We learned so many things from the Village Health Workers, Mobile Health team, as well as the community and so many others that I will never forget, and plan to use in my future practice as a social worker. It is extremely hopeful to see all the inspiring work they have done in the Jamkhed community, and to know that change is possible. We can all be a part of an amazing cause like this, just by learning and better understanding culture, and being open minded to people and ideas
If I had to describe my experience in two words I would say simply beautiful. The simplicity of life there was overwhelming at first because I wasn’t used to doing things slowly, but I soon became envious of it. The country itself was beautiful, as well as the culture. I wanted to take back how carefree and loving these families were. How when doing whatever they did, they had their family in mind. It was comforting to see kids who just wanted to play. There isn’t much distraction with technology in India and there isn’t a want for more than one needs. The stories of the women who work with CRHP are simply beautiful. The want of CRHP to continue to help the villages was simply beautiful. Our experience in India was simply beautiful.
I learned so much from going to Jamkhed, and I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to meet such extraordinary people on this program. While we were there, not only did I get the chance to better understand Indian culture, but I got to better understand healthcare, social work, and people in a whole new light. My favorite thing looking back at our trip to Jamkhed was hearing all of the heroic stories that were shared by the village health workers. They were able to overcome such unbelievable circumstances, and truly defy the odds in order to become role models in their communities, and I found that inspirational.