The sun had finally set, and our plane came down over the runway. We all hastily exited the plane that we had been sitting in for the past twelve hours. As we entered the air port, we were greeted by a wave of heat. My group sat down and we all started to fill out our forms. When we had answered all of the questions asked by the customs officer, he told us, "Welcome to India."
My school trip to India was an amazing, eye opening experience. We drove through the traffic in Mumbai, crossed the subcontinent on a train, and met students from an Indian boarding school. However, there was more to the trip than just sightseeing. Earlier that year, we had formed our group (C Cubed) with an ambitious mission statement, "To make sure that all humans have the quantity and quality of water needed to sustain the future." We were contacted by a teacher from Washington University, and asked if we wanted to connect our problem with students from India. We accepted, and in a few months we were at the DAV Public School National Science Fair. While we were there, we gave a symposium on our mission statement and shared our goals. We made important student connections, and were asked many questions.
Because we spent over a week in India, we really got a feel of their side of the water problem. Our group learned very quickly that you can't drink the tap water in India. We felt ridiculous carrying humongous water bottles every where, but there was no other way to get clean water. I remember waking up in middle of the night, to find that the power had gone out. I learned only in the morning that there isn't 24/7 electricity in India. We found out a wh*** lot, and it was hard for us to leave when it was time to come home.
However, we did come back to St. Louis, but our work didn't end there. Between stream tests and school board meetings (our trip became very popular), we started to plan the Indian students' visit. When the students came, we were ready for them with gift baskets, homes to stay in, and a more complete tour of St. Louis than I have ever been on. I think that the Indian students really enjoyed the trip, and just like us, they learned a lot that they never knew about our water problems.
When we face the challenges of our future, we need to remember that we are all in the same boat. We're on the Earth, and it's all that we've got. By connecting with other people from around the world, we can form global solutions to solve even the toughest problems. Today, I am still great friends with some of the Indian students we met on the trip. It changed my life, and showed me the power of getting together to solve problems. Who knows, by working together, maybe one day there will be enough clean water for everyone!
Here is a short video of a few pictures we took on the trip. I'm sorry about the photo quality, but I hope that it inspires you.
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The exchange works directly for state and public workers and servants. It gives them credit in exchange for the amount of public work they contribute to the community. The more constructive they are based off a base rate the more credit they recieve.