A Moment in the Mud

Field Note #209


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International Programs Fellow Pavan Mudiam recently joined the stateside Wine To Water team. Before returning to Boone, NC, he lead one last volunteer trip to Nepal back in May. This is his story.


Moments pass us by all the time in our daily life. There is a moment when you realize you need water, so you go and get some. Then there is a moment, while drinking your clean glass of water, that you realize you have access to something that others don’t. This is the critical moment where you are given a choice. Do you brush away the realization that others lack what you have, or has something deep within you sprung to life?

Last year, I lived in Nepal working as the international fellow for Wine to Water. I built lasting relationships, saw clean water flow where it hadn’t before, and managed to lead four successful volunteer trips. During this time, I had moments that led me through a similar monologue to the one with which I began this note. Where do I go from this moment on? Can my life be the same or do I have a duty to change?

I finished my time in Nepal and returned home, where I began to deconstruct all those moments I had throughout the past year. I realized that those moments I experienced had become my motivation. No matter what brings you to the field, you cannot possibly leave the same; whatever trip you go on, it is bound to spark something to life inside of you. The experiences we have serving together for something bigger than ourselves must move us forward to continue helping others. It cannot simply end in the field - it has to follow you home. While in the United States, I did not fully use the moments that were there for me. I let those moments pass me by - but not for long.

This past May, I returned to Nepal to lead a service trip. It felt like coming home; something inside me woke up again. Surrounded by people I have never met before and villagers who do not speak the same language as me, I was hit by what I had been missing since I returned to the states. I find it crazy that a single moment in an old, muddy intake tank was where I came alive again with purpose.

People are in serious need around the world, but I realize not everyone can get up and move to Nepal. The real challenge for myself, and that I give to you, is to take advantage of every moment. It sounds like a horrible cliche, but this volunteer trip reminded me that moments are to be used and acted on. Whether serving in community for clean water or building a home for the homeless, remember these moments are not intended to simply make you feel good about yourself or guilty for what you have and others lack. These are the moments that must be channeled into power that makes a positive impact in the community you call home, and sometimes that power is found when you are ankle-deep in mud.  


Pavan Mudiam

International Programs Fellow

Carsyn Bernhardt