Vt. students learn life lessons in India - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. students learn life lessons in India

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Feelix Raynor has spent his whole life in the Northeast Kingdom and has never travelled out of our time zone. His love of gardening, which grew during his childhood in Lyndonville, took him to India.

"I felt really good about it, being able to share my gardening experience, because I've been gardening since I was a very small child and it was amazing to be able to go and teach someone who could really use this sort of knowledge to their advantage," he says.

As part of a senior project at St. Johnsbury Academy, Feelix wanted to teach children sustainable gardening. He shared his gifts with this group of students in India.

"They seemed happy and excited, its something out of the norm, its their own project, their own little plant so they seemed excited about it," he says.

Academy students started mission trips to India in 2010. They raised money to build a health center, which now sees 15-25 patients a day. Every trip back, they bring more medical supplies to help care for patients in the local village.

"I love Indian cuisine like Indian cuisine is my favorite out of all of them and I love food," says Geronimo Owsley.

That simple love spurred Geronimo Owsley's interest in travelling to India with 19 other students. What he saw when he got there has changed him.

"Everybody had first world problems on the trip, like, oh, we have to take five minute showers, we have to shower in cold water, things like that which are very much first world problems when other people are going through struggles like, oh how am I going to feed my children?" he says.

Those children left Ilan Attiae so moved during this trip.

"Playing with the kids is awesome and interacting with them and being with them. You see them all the time smiling even if you know what they're living through in their house," he says.

He says, many of them have very little to eat, and some have only the clothes on their backs.

"It makes me happier in the sense that now I realize what I have and I know what it means to other people. I know that a bottle of water for me doesn't mean much, like I have a bottle of water everyday. But, for a kid in India it means drinking water one more day or two more days," he says.

Life lessons from a world away that have left each of these students changed by their experience.

The students also told me that they helped to tear down a school that was in terrible condition. They say another crew will come in and rebuild it.

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