Self care in Dharemsala

Throughout this course my classmates and myself have learned and reflected on notions of power, privelege and spaces we occupy. My classmates have previously addressed these issues in relation to our work placements and the tourist attractions where we most definitely take up space as a large group of mainly white Westerners. Something which is certainly not new to me in the course of my travels nor my studies in International Development, are the challenges to maintaining health while in the Global South. Foreigners and locals alike struggle with avoiding the local water, eat properly cleaned and cooked foods and ensure all fruits and veggies are peeled, that is just the beginning of course. When we travel from Canada we are advised by special travel doctors of all the precautions we should take to avoid sickness then provided with all kinds of various medications, preventative and therapeudic for all of the various maladies we may encounter. When our students at our work placement become sick I am sure that they don’t have a Baggie full of medicines they can choose from, they must go to a hospital in order to see a doctor, costing both time and money. While I have been sick here I have all of the medications I need, a bunch of people offering to bring me soup and the ability to opt out of work for the day to rest, not to mention the wealth that may be required in the event that I need to go to the hospital. This alone speaks to my privelege, I have all of the tools to cope with illness before I even became sick, I have a way out. Much like the documentary I have discussed with classmates “One Dollar a Day”, shows a couple of well-intentioned guys travelling to a country in the Global South, trying to survive on a dollar a day for a month. When one of them becomes sick he pulls out the medications he brought with him and is worried that they may not last him through the whole month. Many locals from the Global South of course do not have this luxury, they don’t have a way out at the end of the month and missing even one day of work due to sickness can be a huge economic hindrance.

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