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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Humor: Student who studied abroad in India totally going to make a difference in the world

VENOOS MOSHAYEDI / AGGIE
VENOOS MOSHAYEDI / AGGIE

And she has the foot tattoo in Hindi to prove it

UC Davis student Luna Apple, formerly Mary Apple (she changed her name after studying in India) has just returned from what she calls a “life-changing experience.” She has spent the last 10 weeks of her life abroad in New Delhi, immersing herself in the local culture.

Apple, clad in elephant harem pants, sat down with me at the Davis Co-op, the only place she would agree to meet, for what she called “ethical” reasons.

“India was incredible,” Apple said. “The people, the colors — it’s all just so vibrant. I spent 10 minutes in a slum so that I could take a picture with a small Indian boy for my Instagram, and I was hooked.”

Apple says this trip has changed her and made her want to help people. Since her $27,000 study abroad experience, she has dedicated her life to helping the 1.2 billion people living in India. For starters, she created a GoFundMe page to help get her non-profit off the ground.

The description for her GoFundMe page reads:

“It has always been my dream to make a non-profit organization. The people of third-world countries (like India) are so creative and make such beautiful jewelry, clothing and art — but they sell them so cheaply! They just don’t know how to run a business like I do! You see, I’m a second-year design major minoring in art history and economics. I know how to run a successful business. My goal is to source these peoples’ goods to high end stores like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People so that wealthy white women can wear them to music festivals and feel good about themselves. Of course, 3 percent of the proceeds will go to help villages get clean water or schools or something. Please consider donating to my cause.”

Apple’s GoFundMe page has been live for two days, and so far she’s raised $250 in generous donations from her grandparents.

But what makes someone like Apple, a white, upper-middle-class female who bathes in her own privilege nightly, decide to be so darn generous?

“I spent one day in an outdoor market before deciding these people were poor and I needed to help them,” Apple said. “My partner, Mikael, recently started a business where he donates kale that he’s harvested himself to local preschools for their infant sized cold-pressed kale juices. The business is called Mikael’s Kale. His own generosity inspired me.”

Luna has not only changed her heart since she’s been in India, but her lifestyle as well. She has switched to a raw vegan diet of kale, cashews, the left side of an avocado and nothing else. How this helps the people of India is a mystery.

“I do yoga daily,” Apple said. “I have this corner in my house called the ‘chill-out spot.’ It’s set up with a tapestry I got from Urban Outfitters for $49 and some soy candles. It’s where I go when the pressure of having to reboot the entire Indian economy gets to me.”

On her foot tattoo:

“It says “one love” in Hindi, or at least that’s what the tattoo artist in Sacramento told me. He had a septum piercing, so I think he knows what he’s talking about,” Apple said.

ALEX GUZMÁN will be studying abroad in Australia next fall and promises to not act enlightened when she comes back. You can reach her at almguzman@ucdavis.edu and on Twitter @cactasss.

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