I step off the train in Bombay, India. I look down at my feet where I notice my feet covered in dust from the dirty ground that resides beneath me. The dust is swirling around my ankles like a quiet storm and it is then that I notice the quiet around me. So small and tugging at the very bottom of my shirt is how I first noticed her. She is a young, quiet girl and she is staring up at me – dead on. She is begging for attention. At first, I am not sure what to make of her. I look at her, long. I cannot help but notice her protruding stomach and her jutting bones that signal both starvation and desperation. Her clothes are ragged, and ripped, and they make life’s appreciation become real. I glance around and see hundreds of both children and adults looking the same way. She pulls her hands to her mouth signaling she is hungry and asking for food. It was then, in a mere moment, life seized around me.
These people were malnourished, sickly, underserved, and lacking the necessities of life. I remember thinking how lucky I am to have the simple pleasures of a hot shower, shelter, clean clothing, and the ability to visit a doctor. That is the moment I knew working in an underserved community is my calling. I wanted to help these people and provide for them. I wanted to provide them the healthcare they needed. From the little girls’ single touch, to the harsh reality that many people are starving and lacking health care, this moment alone helped define my experience with underserved communities.
When I think of underserved communities my mind travels back to memories of the little girl in Bombay. To me, an underserved community is one that lacks the basic necessities of life. Communities are deprived of money, food, water, and equal opportunity. My travels abroad to several underprivileged countries have help prepare me to work in disadvantaged communities by teaching me an understanding of what these people go through. I have gained first hand experience by volunteering at health clinics and witnessing the lack of care these people receive. Underserved populations are exactly that, they are underscored and more or less mistreated and overlooked.