Manual, a volunteer from Portugal
A this was my second trip to India, I can’t really say I experienced a huge cultural shock, although even on my last day I thought that I was going to go out and get hit by a bus because the traffic here is simply crazy!
You can’t really compile a list about India without listing the reasons why it is known as “Incredible India” throughout the world. For me, the biggest reason isn’t the amazing towering landmarks or the flavorful food, for me, the thing that makes India truly Indian is its people.
In India, you experience all sorts of social approaches, you can be swindled by a dishonest auto driver, you can be warmly greeted by a child on the street, you can be dragged into an intense conversation with a complete stranger or even be shown around town absolutely for free, as was the case for us when we visited beautiful Mysore. In all of these situations you always think the same thing: “My, what a peculiar country this is!” And India is in fact a world in its own, a colorful, unforgettable place where you always want to get away from while you’re there but where you always want to go back when you leave.
Enough with the description of this incredible, sometimes surreal, country, let’s now focus on the reason that brought me to this special corner on Earth: volunteer work. I chose India to work because it was a country that was familiar to me and I knew that whatever happened, the people here would always make me feel at home. It was also a prime choice because of all of the countries that I’ve visited, it was the one that seemed to need the most help.
And here an important part of my stay in India came into play: SCEAD Foundation. Seeing as I came to India wanting to become involved with child education, the foundation was quick to associate me with a government school near Yedyur Lake where I taught basic conversational English. Parallel to that, I gave out some General Knowledge classes at a private school in Jayanagar and helped up with the organization and setup of several events, such as World Population Day, a “Save Girl Child” photography exhibition raising awareness on the topic of female infanticide and an exhibition for Hiroshima Day on the dangers of nuclear weapons.
I loved doing volunteer work for SCEAD because this NGO always gave me the freedom to do what I needed to do, what I thought was best. I was totally independent in the planning of my classes and all the ideas that I had for the school events were gladly welcomed. I also got to meet a lot of people, local and foreign, through my experience with this particular organization. This interaction with different individuals, who shared their distinct opinions and thoughts on a myriad of topics, really enlightened me on the cultural diversity of our planet.
I am shocked at what I know now about myself: me, someone who formerly didn’t care much about children, am now certain that I am never going to forget the young eyes that during these 6 weeks stared in awe and amazement at the mere of fact of me being a foreigner, these young faces so vivacious and eager to learn that they seem to have come out of a movie.
Manual (Portugal )