First post

November 28, 2006

So, here it is: my little India blog about the upcoming volunteer trip. Part of me is all grinny and excited to have a tiny spot online to share this experience with friends and family. The other part (Remember the slightly disaffected teenager dressing in thrift-shop-relics and prone to argue the point, just because? Her.) worries that it’s self-aggrandizing/indulgent to write about my plans, and assume that anyone, anywhere would have even a passing interest in the result. But enthusiasm and utility won out, and here I am, hoping this thing doesn’t seem too presumptuous and hoping it helps make keeping in touch a bit easier. Stop by whenever; there’s always a jar of pretzels on the counter and a couple of bottles of sparkling lemonade in the fridge.


To back up some, this whole thing grew out of a several-year search for a new international volunteer opportunity. Something somewhere between the week-long trips I’ve done to Kingston, (that are fulfilling and exhausting but never quite feel like enough) and making the life-altering two-year Peace Corps commitment. After researching many different avenues, I’ve connected with Cross-Cultural Solutions, a United Nations and CARE-affiliated group that connects volunteers with existing aid organizations and community programs within host countries, for placements that range from 2-12 weeks. It really seems like they offer a truly immersive experience with the chance to engage in the work as a lifestyle, rather than a project on a short-break. Exactly what I’m looking for.

So… on February 11th, I’ll begin service in Delhi, India. Though the needs of the organization and the community may shift, shifting me along with them, I am expecting to be working at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying and Destitute, caring for residents in a medical/shelter/hospice setting. Program staff describe the placement as “very intense and emotionally difficult,” but it’s one I feel something of a calling for and where I think I really may be able to do some good. In a month’s time, I may be lucky enough to only make a small difference for a handful of people, for a brief period, but it still feels worth doing. Sometimes the Big Picture looks so ugly and hopeless that we feel collectively impotent, or worse, view attempts to provide the little things as naive and, well, little. That kind of resignation has always seemed lazy to me. So, I’m going to do what I can, while I can, where they’ll have me and I’m happy & humbled to be able to do so. More on “Why then/why there?” sometime later.

By-the-by, being able to kick the idea of this around a bit with people I enjoy, admire and care about has thus far been a big help, and I’d be thrilled to take in anything you have to offer over the next couple of months, be it your thoughts, experiences, ideas, advice, whatever. Cheers.



  1. I hope you don’t mind me being the first to comment here…it is a bit surreal for me to read this since I have had a very secret longing in my heart since college to volunteer at the very EXACT place you will be working, and then my cousin worked there for two months in what might even be the same program…but I want to tell you how much I admire you for making your dreams a reality, for your character of supportive giving, and for being brave and bold at this particular time of your life. You are a hero to me. And I look forward to every post you will make on this board. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I thought I was going to the be the first to comment, but Rachel beat me to it ;-). Now I can only echo what she said. What a wonderful person you are and how proud I am to call you friend. You’re so loving and giving and the people in India that you come in contact with will be lucky to have you. I know that you will make their lives a little bit better – or maybe a lot – just by being there.

    I eagerly await the next installment of your journey.

  3. You are amazing – and I am also so very proud of you. What an amazing experience for you and the Indian community. I know you will touch every person you encounter there – just as you have here. Rock Star!!

  4. At 3 years old, in a nursing home in Doylestown, PA.,…. Edith Bevens died knowing she’d been kissed by ‘an angel’ at her bedside. Michael Kenney smiled brighter when he spied that precocious visiting toddler. These visits, after my mom died, eased some of my pain & perhaps planted a tiny seed in a tiny child.
    Pop didn’t know how someone so young could impart such wisdom in his dying days, but he knew she was “a smart little monkey.”
    Marne Dietrich had no clue as to the dynamo “elf” Santa had sent to help her with” Wrapping Presence.”
    The lepers in Jamaica, the children at the Kingston city dump, others I just can’t recall, and now the sick and dying in India all will know Kara’s caring spirit, tho’ it will be her whose heart is touched.
    Dad & I are very proud of you. Go with God’s and our blessing and fill your soul!! We love you.

  5. Kara, may all good powers in the Universe bless you! You are truly a good force and an inspiration. It is good that more people without access to cyberspace will get to know you. Be assured they will be aware even though they might not be in a condition to express it. But as I understand, you already know that.

    I hope Mom and Dad really understand how impressed and proud we are of our Smidge. We thank you both for your part in that.

    Sweden out.

  6. Good going K. Follow your dreams. Won’t Reilly miss you? I’ll be in Lenox Hill for a short. Dr Ranawat[from India] who also did both the Pope and Pavarotti will now do me. I will be singing a great rendition of Ave Maria. Good luck and carry that L’ville flag proudly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: