Monday, December 22, 2008


After the horrible attacks on Mumbai many people expressed their concern for the other volunteers and myself. Your concern means a lot to me and I ask that you continue to pray for those directly impacted by the attacks, the attackers, and the governments of India and Pakistan.

I feel like I should begin by assuring you that I feel as safe here as I ever have in the States. India is an incredibly diverse country with over 20 official languages whose cultures and peoples are as distinct as the languages they speak. Unlike Mumbai, a huge, cosmopolitan metropolis in the state of Maharashtra, I am living in Kottayam, Kerala. I feel incredibly secure in Kottayam, a city of ~ 60,000 people, venturing into new neighborhoods on my own (a morning walk favorite) and do not have even a single story of hostility directed at me for being a Westerner/Northerner/American.

It is for this reason that the travel advisories from the U.S. and some European countries against traveling to India distress me. In no way do the attacks reflect the atmosphere of Kerala, other parts of India, and even Mumbai usually. As with traveling anywhere, you must simply be cautious and aware. There is always risk; should that fear keep us from exploring the world? I don't believe it should. It is evident our Mumbai, New York City, has survived attacks of its own and I plan to visit there one day as well. I hope that when we speak of other nations we do not generalize a country as "dangerous" with a tone of superiority, but are careful to speak of specific regions facing conflict (instead of an entire nation of more than 1 billion people).

[Excerpt from my November Newsletter to friends, family, and supporters.]

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