This summer, Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors from across the country gathered together for an incredible, informative two week journey on The Culture of India Destination trip!
These lucky girls had the very special opportunity to explore Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai, and connect with their sister Girl Guides (WAGGGS) and international community partners!
The Culture of India through the Eyes of a Girl Scout
Contribution By Keeley Mahoney
This trip was so unlike any experience I had ever had, and probably will ever have again! Every day was an adventure from start to finish. From the day we arrived at Sangam, I knew it was going to be life-changing.
What I liked most about this trip was the opportunity to experience authentic Indian culture. We weren’t in a very tourist-heavy area for the majority of the trip. We saw how Indian people lived their lives, the adversity they faced, how they celebrated, and what their most sacred places were.
Pune was the city we stayed in for the majority of the time. One of my favorite activities during our time in Pune was the “Pune Leadership Challenge.” Along with a chaperone and another girl, I was sent on a rickshaw chase through the city.
At first, I was very scared! It was something I had never done before. However, once we started our ride to a Jain Temple, I knew it would be a lot of fun. Our driver was new and wasn’t very familiar with the routes. After fifteen minutes, it seemed as though we were already lost! Either way, we managed to get to get to the temple. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I was absolutely mesmerized by the white marble engraved with the names of Jain Gods. Our driver even took a selfie with us!
Later in the trip, we visited a cafe in Agra called Sheroes, a cafe supporting the survivors of acid attacks. The servers were all survivors. For some background, we watched a video detailing what some of these women had been through. It was so moving, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe what these women had survived.
I also noticed how happy these women were regardless. They still had joy. They weren’t letting their past determine their future. To me, that was eye-opening. People are facing grave hardships all over India–– and yet, it was not unusual at all to see people laughing, smiling, admiring the beauty of their country. Many people are happy, even if they don’t have much.
I have learned many things on this trip, but what impacted me the most was the attitude of the Indian people. On this trip, in comparison to the American need to “have things”, I realized that you don’t need to have much, or anything at all, to be happy.
This lesson, and the trip overall, is something that I will never, ever forget. I am so grateful to have been able to go on this trip and experience what I did. Thank you!
Experiences like traveling are so important for Girl Scouts, not only because they get to see different parts of the world, but different parts of humanity.
Though learning about human suffering is difficult, it is essential to the development of Girl Scouts to stay informed. By meeting with organizations like Sheroes and MAHER, these Girl Scouts gained a deeper understanding of the injustices to women and children globally. The girls then took action and made their own contributions!
By sharing stories like Keeley Mahoney’s, we hope to inspire other girls to embark on their own international journeys, learn more about the great wide world, and help others along the way!