Final Farewell

*Supposed to be posted June 22nd I look around my empty room. This tiny studio apartment with the little kitchenette and cube like bathroom lays empty and my bed is bare. I’m exhausted as I spent the previous night and much of the early morning trying to fit my life her in Goa into my tiny blue suitcase. My flight to Varanasi is in three hours and I can hear the cab driver downstairs honking his horn to let me know we’re running late. I do a last minute scan of the room to make sure I haven’t missed anything before carefully pulling my stuffed suitcase and backpack out the door and into the cab driver’s hand. I duck back into my room for a final goodbye and immediately go to the balcony for a final scan of Calangute, Goa – my home for the past three months. Yesterday was my last day at the office and I will always remember my time at Sangath with fond memories. The other interns – all 7 of us girls--had formed a close bond during our shared time working here. I know I’ll miss going out and exploring Goa with them on the weekends, going to the beach, and just grabbing dinner after a long day at the office. I’m truly so grateful for this incredible opportunity I’ve been afforded this past summer. Sangath has such a welcoming environment for interns and it helped shape a 3 month program that would build my skill set and experiences while still making sure the work I provided Sangath was useful to their research endeavors. I made so many friends and connections here, my mentors and their guidance, whom I have to thank for such a enriching experience and helping me realize my professional goals as well as addressing gaps in my own understanding of what it means to treat mental health from a global perspective. And I’m grateful to all the friends I made in the office who shared with me their home here and made my stay feel very personal and comfortable. I hear the driver honk again and I rush out into the waiting cab. I miss my home in Michigan and I’m excited to explore the rest of India, but now I know after 3 months in Goa that a little part of me will always remain here.

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About Neha Tiwari

Neha is a Junior with a major in International Studies: Global Environment and Health, and a minor in Biochemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in public health and medicine with a focus on health equity and mental health. Neha will be spending three months in Goa working with Sangath, an NGO dedicated to improving health by empowering existing community resources to provide appropriate physical, psychological, and social therapies. Neha's final research project will explore the effectiveness of the integration of community-based lay counseling in a traditional mental health treatment program.

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