Photo provided by Genevieve Alexander
Q: What was your first trip like?
A: I travelled to India all by myself in 2012 with some students and two Indian guys. It was my first time out of the country, and I was told that the trip needed to be led by a creative person, so I offered to go because I am a photographer.
We went to an orphanage during our first trip, and it was absolutely wonderful. We met wonderful girls who grew so attached to us, and we grew attached to them also. We went to New Delhi to see the Taj Mahal, and I just had a blast.
The students were awesome, and the culture was so interesting. People wore traditional saris, and the city we visited was so big — so many people everywhere, unlike here in America. The streets of India are always busy, and I am a city girl, so I liked the popping streets.
Q: Why do you like about travelling to different countries?
A: I want to learn about people who are different from me. The people in India dress differently, eat differently, clean differently … there are all sorts of details that I notice every time I travel.
Q: What do people experience when they go to India?
A: I told Dr. Alexander, my husband, about the trip when I returned the first year and convinced him to come along. He also fell in love with India like me. So now, we go every year, and students come along too, and we experience new things in a new culture. We learn about their beliefs, their religion and their way of life. We see how poverty affects some people and how we take certain things for granted.
Dr. Alexander and I lived in India for a summer, and we became very familiar with the area we lived. We could survive and not get lost in the busy city. We learned how to blend in with the locals who really knew how to manage space in a very busy and jammed city. To us, it was strange, but they were used to it.
We also always go back to the orphanage we went to on our first trip to India in 2012. The girls call me “mother” and Dr. Alexander “father.” They expect us to come see them, and we never miss the chance to. We have watched all the girls grow.
Some have graduated high school and are now in college. And it is so beautiful to see them grow. They teach us new things, and we teach them new things. Students that come along on the trip experience all of this and return home as better people who know how to serve God better. They also get to bring all they learned about the culture to all the people in their community.
Q: When is the next trip?
A: The next trip next year (2020), in January. We are in the process of building a team, so by May, we will have a team for the next trip by God’s grace.