My Great Indian Adventure

I’m finally back in the United States, and I feel like I have changed. I look at things a little bit differently and appreciate the things I have a lot more. India is a beautiful country. The people, the culture and everything about it was new and exciting, and I tried to soak it all in.

But after a month of being there, I was ready to come back. I had seen enough of the pollution and poverty to have a newly found appreciation for  Montana, my home.  The clean air and clean streets of Montana are something I cherish.

It was almost like a dream to see a country so different from the one I grew up in. It was eye opening. When people say you better eat all of your food because there is some starving kid in the developing world that would be grateful for it, I can now put a face to that. I have seen the starving kids and the pain of less fortunate people in India. I have been to the slums and seen the environmental degradation of over population.

But along with all the bad, I have seen the beauty of the Indian culture. They are passionate and they have so many interesting things that we can learn from them.

My favorite part of the experience was going to the tiger reserve by Moharli. I felt that it was the place where we got to experience the Indian culture the most. We were immersed in an Indian village for a week and I wouldn’t give that experience up for anything. The other reason that the tiger reserve was my favorite experience is because it was the most positive environmental thing I saw. The Indian government is really devoted to protecting the tigers and doesn’t sacrifice the tiger’s well-being for tourism dollars and I was happy to see some positive environmental decisions amongst so many environmental issues.


On the last day we went to Mumbai and it was so polluted and there were so many people. It seems unreal and unlike anything in America. When you dropped into the city it was instantly polluted and stuffy. I think that the rapid increase in population across India has made it impossible for the country to keep up with infrastructure and the pollution and that’s why the country is in the state it is. There are groups throughout India who are aware of these problems and are trying to fix them, but gaining traction in the country has proven to be an issue.

Overall, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study abroad and I think it’s something that every student should do.

Here are the links to the two stories that I contributed to while in India. One is the story the whole group contributed to about the tiger reserve, and the other is the story I worked on with Alexander Deedy about the clean water access in the slums of Pune.

Tiger Story

Pune Water Story


Water in the slums: not what you would expect

This past week we have been back in Pune at the FLAME campus. FLAME is the most expensive college in India and is the only liberal arts college in the country.

Since it is such a nice college, it makes sense that the campus would be drastically different from the other places we visit. This week we were reporting on various stories though out Pune, most of them dealing with tied to the environment. Some of the stories include: rickshaws and the air pollution they are  causing, cycling and it’s presence in Pune, migratory bird habitats, tribal displacement  because of dams being built, the stray dog problem in Pune, and access to clean water in the slums.

This is Wadarvadi, a slum in Pune.

This is Wadarvadi, a slum in Pune.

My group did the story about clean water access in the slums, and what we ended up finding was much different than what we expected. We all expected some sort of “Slumdog Millionaire” situation with people in complete poverty; something that was going to shock us. We expected that people in the slums would have to carry the water from really far away and that it would be dirty water that they didn’t have a choice to drink.We didn’t goto the worst slum, because of safety reasons, but the slums we did go to had an outside faucetthat pumped out filtered water during certain hours of the day. The water is very clean although sometimes they get throat infections in the winter months from the water. Even though they are living in the slums, Pune has set up a system where they drink the same filtered water that we do at our fancy college campus.

When we figured out that all the slums in Pune would be like this we were confused, a little bummed, but mostly impressed. We were confused because we never would have guessed that Pune could have built the infrastructure to provide everyone with clean water. The journalists inside of us were bummed because we didn’t get the sensational and shocking story we wanted and expected. We had prepared ourselves for the worst and gotten pleasantly surprised.

In India you can’t go a block without seeing a building that looks like it’s going to fall over, garbage covered streets, or homeless children asking for food. Their roads are quite awful, compared to roads in America, and their rivers are filled with mountains of trash. It’s a sad sight, but knowing that Pune can provide clean water for its residents gives me hope that they can eventually clean itself up and lower the amount of pollution in the city.

There are islands of trash floating down the rivers through Pune.

There are islands of trash floating down the rivers through Pune.

Everywhere on the walls are advertisements saying “Keep Pune green and clean. Green Pune. Clean Pune.” They are trying and I think that’s all anyone can ask for.

slumIi copy