The 2500th Post: Off to Report on Children’s Health in India
Usually when I hit a milestone I look back at what has occurred and share my thoughts. This time I am moving forward. Tomorrow I depart to India for two weeks. I will report on children’s health and survival thanks to a journalism fellowship with the International Reporting Project. We will arrive in Mumbai, spend a couple days in Nagpur, visit the village of Gadchiroli and wrap up in Delhi. And as an aside, I am staying three extra nights so I can treat myself to a visit at the Taj Mahal. I just have to do it.
I have not always made the best career or personal choices, but have been lucky in many of the experiences I have had. I’ve been blessed to have spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia, South America, the Balkans and the Middle East. A variety of countries have tugged at my heart strings or have left me intellectually smitten, from Bosnia to Bulgaria and from Qatar to Uruguay. Korea and Brazil always impress me with their people, cultures and business. Yet there is always much more to see, smell, taste and ponder. I can never remember an exact count, but I am fairly certain that I have visited 60 countries.
This is my first time in India. I look forward to burying myself in this stunning country of contrasts. India is home to some of the world’s wealthiest industrialists but still copes with devastating poverty; many of the most disruptive technologies are emerging here yet many people still use kerosene for light and heat; Indian women have held some of the highest positions in politics and business, yet daily life for many Indian women is an ordeal. Its people are entrepreneurial and can run circles around the rest of us, yet many of its institutions, including its bureaucratic government, are stuck in time. India’s cities are crowded; and so are many of its rural areas.
Usually I read up on a new country before I visit, whether I comb through Wikipedia, travel sites or inhale news from favorite news sources such as The Economist. For this trip, however, I want to go with zero expectations. Perhaps that is irresponsible; but part of the joy of travel is to just go somewhere and live it, and not be obsessed with trying to gobble up as much information as possible on an iPad or cell phone. I am lucky to have the luxury of having nice places to stay at night, so I want to be able to just dump my things without worry and explore different areas of the cities and countryside I will experience. With my smartphone, of course, so I can snap pictures for Instagram. I’m not that stuck in time.
[Image credit: International Reporting Project and Bidisha]