Our plane touched down at Mumbai International Airport in Bombay, India, and I wondered how I would pass the next two excruciatingly boring months in a land without high-tech computer games, Eminem, or Dr. Dre. When I stepped out of the airport and onto the streets of Bombay, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of dismay. Although I was in my homeland, the very place my ancestors were from, I felt as if I was a complete stranger. As I glanced to my left, a young child was glaring into my eyes with his outstretched hand begging for alms. A bit taken aback, I turned the other way only to come upon an even more distressing sight. I witnessed an event that forever changed my outlook on life.
A cowering young boy scampered up the road trying to escape the fierce blows of a man striking him with a whip. The child managed to stumble a few more feet and then the whip went whirling through the air and thundering down upon his naked back. He let out a shriek of pain. Blow after blow, the man administering the whip continued his attack until the boy began to plead for mercy. I stood there bewildered by the event that had just taken place before my eyes. Even after the crowd had left, I could hear the boy's screams echoing in my ears. I couldn't understand how someone could beat a child with a whip to the point of near death.
Witnessing the boy's beating was an event that emotionally disturbed me. My feelings were out of control and I felt like I wanted to save the world. But I knew that to make a difference I first needed to take action within my own community.
For two years I have been involved with a local children's fair for abused and mentally handicapped children. It has been a fulfilling experience, not only because I have been able to do something for these children but because I have learned to empathize with their tragic experiences. I am proud of the work I did within my local community but my heart told me that I had to donate my time to help children abroad as well I help people in India who suffer from polio. Polio is a disease for which modern medicine has found a vaccine, yet the disease continues to spread in India due to inadequate medical treatment. I find this irony unacceptable. Therefore, I have been writing letters to celebrities and business officials in hopes of gaining their financial support to help eradicate polio in India.
The trip to India opened my eyes to a society I had never before witnessed. Unity, love, morality...