Two PreMed students from the USA chose to spend part of their summer break doing a rural internship project organised by Amrita University. Roshan Nair (Siena College, New York) and Divya Ramachandran (Loyola University, Illinois) spent 3 weeks, from mid July 2014, learning about the problems of alcohol addiction in Kerala. The students set a list of objectives and created a Powerpoint presentation on the dangers of alcohol addiction before setting out. They visited Njaarackal, Kalpetta, Mananthavaady and Pulpally areas to learn how the coastal and the tribal people are affected by alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. The team explained about all this with the help of some videos.
Together they all pledged not to use alcohol and quit smoking.
“It was shocking to see that even students in first standard are aware of most issues dealing with alcohol, because they see it daily in their own family and around” says Divya.
“At the end of each class period, the children understood that they could trust us, so many of the students spoke to us freely about their family problems. I was extremely moved by all of the stories that I heard: each one left a deep impression on me while constantly reminding me that the topics we were discussing were the harsh realities that these children faced each day” said Roshan.
Reflecting on her experience, Roshan Nair related, “In the past three weeks, I feel that I have learned more about life, the world, and myself, than I have in the past two years at college. I was able to experience and understand the pain and misery of the underprivileged tribal people who are addicted to alcohol and tobacco. Additionally, I saw on a daily basis, how these substances have torn families apart and destroyed their peace. In retrospect, I feel that perhaps Amma directed us to do this project to identify with their pain and understand how deeply rooted these problems are in their society. I am inexpressibly grateful to Amma for this invaluable opportunity.”