A New Journey

Mandula Bashu van den Berg - India


August 29, 2015

PROLOGUE

Strangers cry in California and I am there, dressed in vibrant red.
Knots tie my stomach to my skin, the patio shuffles my bare feet apart. 
They, we, us, them, she, him, I are leaving. 
Really now. 


FIRST CHAPTER 

In the corner of our stuffy common room, a boy softly plays the piano. People exchange embarrassing stories and we write letters to our future selves. It smells like Twizzlers and evening breath. I realise how much I have come to trust these people and this organisation over the past couple of days, despite the many doubts I had when I arrived.  

Leaving Mostar was hard for me in many ways, and I was so scared that those really were the ‘best two years of my life’. but the past week made me realise already that you just have to find new opportunities. There are other options, you just have to look for them and explore them with an open mind. 

There are so many lessons from these people that I’m taking with me to India. Sayings about seeking opportunities instead of seeing problems, observations about how stories connect people, the idea to keep asking yourself what is actually happening. I’m blown away by the minds of the people I have met. 

I look around and see how everyone is laughing. The Senegal cohort has already piled up its luggage. The envelopes with appreciation notes are full. I’m actually moving to India. I have no idea what is going to happen over the next eight months, but I actually trust that I made the right choice. 

Mandula Bashu van den Berg