Every time I told someone I was traveling to India to volunteer I got the same reaction … “Really….you?…Going to India? Are you sure?” Sometimes people would just laugh at me, until they realized I wasn’t laughing. Yes, maybe I am a bit of a girlie girl (understatement), I love getting dressed up, putting on make up, I have a tiny dog that fits in my purse, I squeal if I see a bug and ask the nearest male to kill it for me.
Was I sure that I was ready to go to India…no, but I went anyways. If you know me then you know once I get a thought in my head I will make it happen. Some people would call it stubbornness, but I call it dedication.
I still can’t believe that I actually left everything I knew to travel for three months around India and Nepal to volunteer. Ok, scratch that….I can’t believe I did that and I survived. Not only did I survive, but I had a complete awakening into who I am and exactly what I stand for. Yes, Melissa Ann Morgan from South Tampa stripped off all her make up (along with her pride and what was left of her dignity) and got real.
Why did I go? I made the choice to listen to my calling; I wanted to be a responsible philanthropist. I needed to see first-hand what living in an undeveloped nation was like in order to put myself in check, and to remind myself all of my “needs” are just “wants”. I was feeling lost in life and I knew it wasn’t too late to make a change. I needed to strip away all of my possessions and baggage (mental & physical) and just live life, simply and truthfully. Giving myself over to be deeply rooted and focused on the wellbeing of others.
“ When you give, you begin to live & you get the world”– Dave Matthews
I heard these words in the middle of my journey. These words spoke truth to me; I began to be consumed with the need to be a helpful person, my eyes are wide open now and I have never felt more present and connected to life, to my life and this amazing world around me.
By pushing myself to the extreme, I broke free of the limits I had imposed on myself I learned that I can handle anything; I can go anywhere, be anyone I wanted to be.
I have learned that I can adapt and acclimate in any situation I am put in, and that is an incredible gift. I feel free now and I know that no matter what comes across my path I can handle it. I survived 3 months in India and Nepal. I was pushed and I shoved back. It was hard and I flourished. It might sound weird to say, but I am amazing -I felt a calling, and thankfully I listened to myself and I found a greater meaning to life.
In my own way I have become a Mother, because I feel, as though all of the children I met along the way will always be mine, as I will carry their truth and share their stories wherever I go. When it comes to orphaned and abandoned children we are all their parents, everyone that comes into their lives who shows them compassion, love and kindness…for however long has a part in shaping whom these children will become. This is an incredible responsibility and I gladly accept.
For the last three months of my life I devoted to seeing for myself what a part of the world is really like so vastly different then my own. I now understand the importance of organizations like Khusi Hona and the reasons they need to exist. I have seen horrible things; I have seen toddlers sitting on the side of the road naked in piles of garbage, I have seen starving people, I have had street children holding infant babies banging on the window of our car begging for food, and disabled people dragging themselves along on the concrete streets. I know now with 100 percent certainty that YES these organizations must exist because parts of the world ARE this bad! I had my wake up call- I feel that we have to take responsibility for the people who cannot take care of themselves. The children, the uneducated, the disabled, they all need us and it is our duty living in a privileged western country to stand up and be their voice.
Please don’t get me wrong I also experienced complete simplistic bliss with the amazing people I was privileged enough to meet alone the way. Everyone touched my soul, Arpan in Nepal, Pema Bante the Monk in Darjeeling, Dr. Hans in Delhi, the children, all of the precious children with their beautiful smiles, I cry when I think about having to pull their hands from mine to say good-bye.
I know that this incredible journey will not be my last I will continue not only to work with Khusi Hona, but with other charities and organizations who heavily focus on spreading happiness and joy to children throughout the world.
I completely changed my entire life and who I am as a person in 90 days.
I may still love to wear make up from time to time, and of course I still have my little poodle, however I no longer squeal or need a mans help when I see a bug. To say that India toughened me up is an understatement, it gave me the strength to fight not only for myself and I what I feel is right, but also for those living in poverty and to help them break the cycle into which they were born.
I had my calling and I listened.
I know the truth of the world now & I remain forever changed.