Necessity is the mother of invention

December 4, 2010

The following commentary was not written by me. I found it on a travel blog, and I unfortunately cannot source it as I dont recall where I found it now. I am including it here because it captures succinctly the hope, tenacity and resilience of the Indian people. I have seen similar things many times. The students improvising with writing utensils–sharing each others pens and paper.

The kids using garbage for sports equipment, not complaining or questioning –just playing–a can is the soccer ball. When you have nothing, you learn to improvise. A skill that our young people often lack, because they have not had to do without. When you do without, you learn resilience.

While volunteering in India, I taught disadvantaged young adults interview skills and English conversation. After studying interview skills, we orchestrated a test interview with another volunteer they had never met. The students were very nervous to try to conduct an interview in English and with a stranger.

That morning I smiled as they all walked in with their best clothes on they could find; one even wore a tie. We had talked about how important it was to dress your best – whatever level that may be. I watched as nervous students did their interview one by one. However, I noticed that as one left the interview room and came out they would quickly swap shoes and that single tie with the next person ‘on deck’. The flip-flops came off and the one pair of shared dress shoes went on. This was one of the most moving experiences for me during my time in India. I could only hope that one day the kids would learn enough to get them hired in a real interview and eventually buy their own pair of nice shoes.

For me, travel is about knowledge building. Through travel, you learn about other countries and cultures; you are also exposed to various levels of poverty, sadness, and despair.”–Unknown Source

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