Erb helps terminally ill in India

Thu, 2012-07-26 11:09 -- univcomm

For Rachel Erb, volunteering means more than just serving hot meals. For her, it means going over 8,000 miles for four months to help those who are less fortunate. Erb, 21, Marion, was chosen by the Word Made Flesh organization to volunteer her time to comfort dying adults and children in their last days in India. She is volunteering at two of the Missionaries of Charity Homes -- Home for the Dying and Shishu Bhavan -- founded by Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India. The Anderson University junior said she thought this would be the perfect time to take a break from college for the real-life experience.

"I decided that now is the best time to go because I'm young and I'm not working yet," she said.

Erb will be visiting Calcutta, Madras and Nepal to experience what she says will be a more simplistic life. She left Feb. 4 for Calcutta, India, to volunteer with the Sisters of Charity, of which Mother Teresa as a member.

"I think that I've kind of realized that I live in a society that has a lot of excess," she said. "I think we take for granted what we have."

And, Erb already is thinking about the things she will miss back home.

"We're living a pretty simplistic life over there," she said. "I might miss a mattress under me (because) we will sleep on a padded mat."

Since she will be leaving the cold winter months of Indiana and stepping into the scorching heat of India, air conditioning is another thing that will be missed.

"I think I'm going to come back from this trip quite different," she said.

The elementary education major said she is looking forward to working with the kids with HIV and AIDS the most.

"They seem so joyous (in brochure pictures) even though they have nothing tangible to show for it," she said.

— Writer Whitney Ross is a reporter for the Marion Chronicle-Review. Article reprinted with permission. Send comments to wross@marion.gannett.com