The time I spent in Mainalli and the surrounding areas was life changing for me and I can only hope had a lasting impact on the great people I worked with. Coming in, I had no idea what to expect about the people or the environment I would be working with/in, but soon came too love everything about the people, space and culture. The project I worked on (implementation of computer labs and technical infrastructure), aimed to give the users better access to the outside world, as well as insight into how technology could benefit them. A major benefit of our work was the opportunity for children to access learning resources, and just as importantly, have the opportunity to use computers. Overall, the experience taught me a great deal about the world I live in, and about the benefit that can be achieve at a local level through an array of projects.
Grace S Atherton
I knew that I didn’t really know what I was doing when the three of us flew off to Mainalli. I learned quickly not to make any sort of judgement but to simply observe and ask questions. Sanghas were my main interest, and I enjoyed being a small part of all of Pash’s interviews and reunions with friends. I also did a lot of daydreaming in the car about what life was like when you couldn’t chop down trees for firewood, and other small difficulties and joys that come with life in Mainalli. I still don’t know exactly what I did, but the most important knowledge I gathered from being there was about the many many friends we met – how they lived, what they valued most, and what their hopes for the future were. Now I am better able to imagine and understand lives very different from my own, and I can put a face on the small initiatives I support that will better the lives of people like those I met in Mainalli. I am very much looking forward to a return trip.
Annie Roth Blumfield
Like many others who’ve reflected on their experience in Mainalli, I had no idea what to expect when I first arrived. Even though I didn’t have clear expectations, I was still surprised by something new (or many new things) every single day. I loved talking to people on the boulevard, playing with kids, and having long conversations over chai with the sisters. My main focus was on nutrition, specifically learning sustainable nutrition practices in the community, and documenting them in a cookbook to share with other community members. I learned so much from this project, but also from day-to-day moments that had nothing to do with the project. Even now, back at Wellesley, I am still remembering moments from the summer and learning from them. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to go to Mainalli, and I miss our community there very much.