HAVILAND — Sitting among delegations from eight different countries, with representatives dressed in traditional clothing and seeing all the differences and vibrancy of color made a big impression on recent Barclay College graduate Hannah Brown, of Haviland.
Brown recently returned from a two-and-a-half-week mission trip to India, where her purpose was to make connections with young girls in need.
"There was a conference for youth and young adults that we were able to attend," said Brown, who graduated from Barclay College in May and begins student-teaching at Skyline Schools this month. "This conference was attended by eight countries in Asia, plus the six Americans in my group. Everyone there was wearing some sort of national dress, and it was just amazing — the diversity, the color. It was impressive.
Brown said that she and the other Americans red bandanas to signify their home country, the United States.
"I learned a lot about different cultures and I’m excited to have had the opportunity to travel internationally. I am thankful for the doors opened by my connections with Barclay College of Haviland," Brown said. "This was a great opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures."
On July 25, five Barclay College students and one professor left Haviland destined for Belgaum, India. After a delay and short layover in Chicago, they embarked on a 14-hour flight to India.
The purpose for the trip to India was to work with a ministry that helps to take girls out of prostitution. A children's home in India that provided safe housing for more than 70 girls had to shut down because of new government rulings. The mission team from Barclay hoped to establish connections for safe housing for the girls from this home and for others trapped in a very conservative culture where women have few rights.
"Our time in Belgaum was spent working at a Vacation Bible School for people from members of local churches. This was one way we could interact with and help pave the way for better connections for them," Brown said.
Brown said the cultural demographics in India are undergoing changes as an extreme pro-Hindu prime minister has recently been re-elected to power.
"It is really a very restricted place, where women's needs and issues are very low in society," she said.
Brown also said details about their trip were purposely vague in nature to protect those they worked with and the connections made as part of the mission.
"We went to Goa after the conference was over, to rest and relax," Brown said.
The group then flew to Delhi, a large city in northern India, where they spent time sightseeing, resting and shopping in the local markets.
"It was a great way to see the culture of people in India, both young and old," Brown said. "During the last few days of our trip, we rode a high-speed train to see one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. This was a wonderful experience and something I’d never be able to experience in my small town in Kansas."