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I dropped over $2,000 on plane tickets to Kolkata, India last week. Sara, Sal, I and possibly Dan, Brock and whoever else wants to come, will be spending 9-10 days working with Sisters of Charity.
Quite honestly, I’m terribly excited. India has been on my top 5 list since I developed my top 5 list. I’m intrigued by the culture, the art and especially the food. For the first time, I get to cross a country off the list, and it has me chuffed.
That said, I strongly sympathize with Mike’s point of view, and am struggling some with it myself. It is an awful lot of money. If I’m seeking to live simply and fairly with my fellow humanity, $2,000 goes a long way. (Now obviously, I’m not backing out. The payment has been made. There’s no backpeddling now).
So this is my attempt to rationalize it, to justify my action, to resolve the cognitive dissonance.
- The trip is an investment in my education. I will be interfacing with a new culture. The experience will broaden my worldview, allow me to interact with a different value system, and give me a deeper perspective on how the world functions. I will learn from the people I encounter. Perhaps they will learn from me. The experience will help me better understand others and myself.
- We seek solidarity with the people we work with. This isn’t a vacation to a remote tropical island with sun and palm trees and Mai Thais. Our purpose isn’t to relax and escape. We will be working with the marginalized and oppressed. The purpose is to build relationships and recognize the inherent value in each other.
I believe that the experience will be worth the investment, weighty as it is. That is my rationalization, justification and reconciliation. But I’m not claiming immutable truth on this. Challenge me if see things differently.