Megan McElhaney ’13: Cornell International Fellow in Sustainable Agriculture
As I pause to write this blog post and look out at the Himalayan foothills, cloudy with another round of rain, I suddenly wake up to how much I appreciate where I am and what I’m doing. I feel comfortable here, and novelty has faded to normalcy for many things, so I am embarrassed to admit how often I forget how extraordinary this experience is. But tonight, I don’t forget. In fact I am quite overwhelmed by gratefulness.
I am in India. I am living in a paradise disguised as a farm. I am interning for an organization that I passionately support and respect. I helped create a food forest. I lived almost entirely sustainably for two months. I met people who inspired and challenged me. And to say that I learned “so much” would be a ridiculous understatement. In fact, I think my brain may be at holding capacity for new information and needs to process some of it before I learn anything else!
Moments like this serve as a reality check for those times when I can’t stop itching my mosquito/bedbug bites, when I complain about eating the same meal for lunch and dinner for two months, or when I get annoyed by being woken up every morning at 4 am by the mosque prayers over loud speakers. (Seriously though, the entire hillside is not Muslim, so if they could turn the volume down just a tad…that would be fantastic.)
This week, I worked a bit on the agroforestry project, planting more sweet potatoes, weeding minimally, and digging pits for fruit trees which I was not allowed to help plant. Dr. Ravat just didn’t seem to want me to help. It was odd. Now that the food forest project is pretty much finished, I think I’m going to help with another program called Seeds of Hope. It’s a school program that works with schools to upkeep gardens and do lessons about healthy eating and waste management, etc. I think I might do a mural project at one of the schools in the next week or so.
I can’t believe my internship is almost over! I know it’s cliche, but time passes so strangely in the summer. Simultaneously slow and fast.
Until next time,