Why Can’t We be Friends?
There are one hundred and ninety six different countries in the world. There are thousands of ethnic groups among these countries. Within all of the diverse places we are all similar because we are all human. We have the same wants and same needs; the only thing that makes us different is the location we originated. Here in the United States, Americans, whether realizing it or not, consider themselves higher in status. Even though they are diverse within themselves, the whole is considered the superior people by not only themselves but by surrounding countries as well. They have first-rate justice systems, improved living situations, high-class transportation, finer luxuries, and enhanced overall lifestyles. My college English class was informed that we must interview an international student to discuss their opinions about the U.S., and it was an exciting topic to conceive. Who better to ask then an individual that has lived in the distant country, smelt the air, and walked the grounds. I began scouring the halls of Louisiana State University to find this individual to interview about their culture and the first person that came to mind was my chemistry tutor. The next day after our tutoring session I asked her for an interview and immediately she responded with a delighted “Yes.” She was eager to help any college student like herself with subject. In the journey as a college student, many exceptional and fascinating people have come across my path, but no one quite as unique as Runa. Runa is a student at Louisiana State University. Her native country is Jamshedpur, India. It is a small town in northeast India with a population of about 1,300,000. Mostly industrial steel companies control the town. The people of Jamshedpur typically work for the companies and in return they only pay to reside in the town. All their utilities, amenities, etc. is covered by the industry. The typical income is about one million rupees, or the equivalent to 18,000 U.S. dollars annually. This town is unlike others in India because it is extremely industrialized. For example, India has a fairly significant water problem. Although it rains a lot there, the temperature is scorching and most water evaporates, so in the north, west, and south it is extremely hard to get water. Women as a daily task on top of caring for the home and children, must travel four miles round trip to bring a bucket of water into the home for cleaning and drinking, and usually takes four trips to have enough water for these tasks. The east, Jamshedpur included, does not have this water issue because of the industrialization around there. Don’t let this problem fool you. There are many wonderful cultural occurrences to be experienced in India. They have beautiful garden sanctuaries with massive statues where anyone can visit, but most attendees are Hindi. “With this very basic picture of my town now in mind,” she said, “let me start with my childhood.” She grew up in an urban neighborhood where school was but a short distance from her home. Typically most children didn’t have the luxury of a car to ride to school and lived too far to take the bus, so the walk was long and tiresome. Runa was not only close enough to the school to walk only a short distance she could also take a two-minute bus ride. She chose to take the short ride in her parents’ automobile, and I guess you could say she was more fortunate than others in this way. The school was not your typical primary school. Although India does indeed have public schools like the United States, she was privileged to attend a private school, and not just any private school, the town’s best catholic private school. Kindergarten through twelfth grade was spent here. Runa learned curriculum paralleling a typical American’s education. They learned things like ABC’s, 123’s, how to write, and how to read earlier in life. During a typical Americans’ middle...
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