19 March 2015
← A Reflection from the India Immersion
A Reflection from the India Immersion
To describe my India Immersion experience, I could give you a detailed itinerary and explanation of all the sights, smells and sounds I ventured through; but I would prefer to describe just one instance that truly affected me.
Through contacts of Mr Hawkins and Mr Lawler from St. Edmund's, a few of us had the chance to meet up with a man named Steven. Steven is Australian and his brother in law is an old boy of St. Patrick's. Steven made the bold decision to leave his Engineering career and plentiful life in Australia behind, to chase his dream of making a mark on the living conditions of those who are in the most severe poverty in the slums of India.
In India especially, respiratory disease causing death is an extremely prominent issue. At 5pm each evening, it is a struggle to even walk down the streets of India, simply due to the sheer quantity of smoke billowing out of the houses from their coal-burning cooking vesicles. So at least once every day, these people are sitting over the top of these stoves, inhaling the toxic gases being release, and to them, there is no way of avoiding it.
So what Steven has decided to do is to transition from these coal-burning utensils to environmentally friendly LPG gas stoves, which obviously eliminates the production of dangerous gases. He has brought it upon himself to organize everything, including the installment of these stoves, for a very affordable price. He has already made his way through every home in two Indian villages, and is about to start on his third, with a 90% success rate of getting people to make the transition.
Already, a group of medical students from the United States of America who visit each year, has stated that of those who live in communities where the transition has been made, they've seen a 40% decrease in patients displaying the signs of respiratory disease, after just one year! This is amazing.
I'm sure we've all heard the starfish story. The one where hundreds of thousands of starfish are seen stranded on a beach, and a little boy is there throwing them back into the water; one by one. An older man walked by and said to him, "Why are you bothering young fella? There's no way you can save them all!" So the young boy bends over, picks up a starfish and says, "Well I've saved this one" and proceeds to throw it in the water.
Steven is this little boy. Unfortunately the respiratory disease problem is only one starfish of thousands on that beach; but he is making a huge effort in throwing it back in the water and affecting the lives of not one, but thousands of people.