We are coming to the end of our stay here in Ahmedabad and I can’t help but notice the strong connections we have made.  The friendly banter between Andrea and Fr. Daniel, teasing each other and laughing at inside jokes.  Dr. Byers and Jennifer teasing Andrea about Malti, a rat that decided (to Andrea’s dismay) to share their room.  Malti, in case you haven’t been following Andrea or Jennifer’s blog, was evicted after the first night.

Jim and Fr. Vincent Salada have shared many long talks and a little bit of whiskey.  Chris has made an impact on many of the Jesuits, reacting to his quiet demeanor and room-filling laugh.   I was able to reconnect with many old friends, Susan, Pinky and Fr. Lancy.

Ignas, the cook, and Babu his helper are not overlooked.  Each member of the Marquette team has been at the receiving end of their generosity and gracious smile. 

What was important in this trip was not coming over and ‘saving’ the students or being better than them, it was sharing knowledge and making connections.  The students have all shared culture stories and have connected in a way no one expected.  I can’t begin to explain the impact that Udit’s persistence or Arpita’s warm smile have had on our team.  Whether it was heading to shop in the old city on the back of a scooter or jammed into an auto-rickshaw – conversations were swift, upbeat and insightful.  We will be talking and remembering this time for many years.

I overheard one of the Marquette students comment on how they were amazed to find students so accepting of differences.  Here we are, a world apart, and yet so similar.

What has truly happened on this trip is that connections have been made.  You never really know where the future will take you and we know this will not be the last time our paths will cross.  The connections formed are strong and the friendships real.

Generations, gender, and cultural differences have been dismissed and all we see before us and in our pictures are friends.  There is no Marquette or Ahmedabad – there is only the backpack team – all forty of them.

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