After 20 hours of traveling Tara Stone ’14 stepped out of the doors of the airport into Delhi and experienced for the first time the indescribable humidity she would face for rest of her six week solo trip to India.
Stone went directly from the airport in Delhi to the Himachal Pradesh region of the Himalayas, where she volunteered on an EarthWatch expedition entitled “Butterflies and Bees.” She and 14 other volunteers aided scientists studying pollination and the effect of pesticides on the Himalayan bee population.
From the Himalayas Stone ventured to Kolkata for the rest of the trip. At her second location Stone went to the “Mother House,” the first mission created by Mother Theresa to help the destitute. At the Mother House, Stone, along with numerous other travelers, signed up to become volunteers for the Mother Theresa’s missionaries of charity.
Every volunteer was tasked with choosing a “house” or welfare center in the city to work in. Stone chose to work with slum and street children at the Gandhi Welfare Center, teaching them basic English and math.
“Another volunteer told me that she was just glad we were keeping them off the streets, even if it was for just a bit,” Stone said.
Stone said she was glad she chose a small center to volunteer at.
“This allowed me to have friends to wander through the city with,” Stone said. “Without them I don’t think I would have had the same enriching experience.”
After a few weeks Stone took a five-day excursion to the city of Shillong to get a break from the bustling and cluttered city.
There, Stone stayed with a family and another volunteer. The particular family they stayed with entertained their extended family regularly.
One day, a family member who taught at the local university visited for tea and invited Stone to come speak to his class.
“This was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up, so we agreed but when we got there we were completely unprepared. It was set up like a press conference and we were talking to an auditorium of students. We discussed the differences between the US and India and even talked politics,” Stone said.