Lissie and I go out for a walk

I remember waking up the first morning in Ahmedabad feeling irritable. I was tired from what seemed like a month’s worth of traveling. I knew I needed to get my bearings if I was to get into the right mindset and hit the ground running for the adventure that awaited. So I grabbed my iPod, put Lissie’s Pursuit of Happiness on repeat and headed for a walk. Now the idea of spaces was prevalent to 2015’s India GCELE from the start. During orientation we were informed that part of our experience would be helping to construct a shelter that would act as a safe space for women needing a reprieve from whatever circumstance was causing them harm. So maybe that is why I was being mindful to the intentions of the places as I wondered. My initial observation as I left the hotel was Ahmedabad was boring. The street was lined with the hustle and bustle I was accustomed to find in the morning at home. Kids were going to school and adults were headed off to work. I soon discovered a Subway and KFC. I started to think did I really come all this way for this. Not that I was expecting a experience of Indian caricature. But at least something worthy of the eighteen hour plane ride. Could I not see at least a monkey. With not a lot of excitement to encounter I did not wander for very long. So I headed back to the hotel. I did not realise it at the time but if I would have roamed just a bit farther in all most any direction I would have encountered a shanty town, a community made up of make shift homes using whatever materials could be gathered. I would come to learn that these communities existed in pockets throughout the city.

This is my attempt at being Maurizio Cattelan
This is my attempt at being Maurizio Cattelan

Looking back at that initial morning I realise that my impression of Ahmedabad was incomplete. The spaces I walked that morning were intentionally boring. Fortunately the group had a couple days to explore the city. We would have the opportunity to visit Gandhi’s Ashram, shop at a market, meet with local activists, and eventually see the different shanty towns that existed throughout the city. It turns out Ahmedabad was a much more complex place than I initially considered. So what does that mean for global citizenship? I guess it is important to make an effort to challenge what we believe to be true. To try and develop a personal understanding of the spaces we encounter by exploring and trying new things on a meaningful level. This GCELE certainly provided this opportunity for me.

Bloom

One thought

  1. Thank you for writing this Bloom. I was curious on the Global Citizenship And Equity Learning Experience trip that some students at Centennial had the opportunity to part take in the Women’s shelter in India. I agree with you, to explore a place unknown and challenge our own perception. Also, thank you for taking part in this GCELE and sharing your story.

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