In the Fog (India: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Social Justice)

I woke from a short nap with less than 30 minutes left on our bumpy two-hour drive up the mountains. We left the Ayurvedic treatment center, Kayakalp, and headed straight to our homestay in a Tibetan refugee community near the Nepal border. Just before I fell asleep, I found myself in a small town outside Kayakalp. Though small, it was still abundant with people, strong mysterious scents, and the routine chaos of cars honking, barely squeezing past each other in ‘traffic.’ Now, my eyes opened on the side of a mountain, our taxi angled upwards, surrounded by endless fog and humongous trees facing us at every turn.

While we were literally driving up into the fog, we were, in certain ways, figuratively in the fog as well. Though we had ample preparation from our leaders over the past two weeks for what was to come, no one really knew exactly what to expect during the homestay. While some of us kept our expectations low, others, including myself, had planned out their next two weeks “to a tee” using preconceived notions and prejudices to paint an image that our eyes couldn’t. But like the cow in the picture, we only saw the fog, the thick clouds that blocked our vision, with no idea that what was beyond it held much learning, opening doors to even more curiosity and a new mindset that would help us see our surroundings, America, and even the world, more clearly.

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