There is always place for somebody else Volunteers´ experience in India

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A group of 9 young people from different parts of Spain left Madrid airport very early on July 18. We had not met each other before so the day we traveled our nerves were in full swing, but the common feeling among all of us was the one of learning, giving the best of ourselves, letting the new reality question us, enjoying an exotic culture, but, above all, living an unique and unforgettable experience.

Our destination? SARPI Project, situated in a small town called Honavar, in the Karnataka region, in southwestern India, and promoted by the Teresian Association.  No doubt that an authentic adventure was awaiting for us there!!

What was our mission in that place? In the morning we used to go to the different projects to collaborate in their activities in the rural schools of the area, with the special education children at the Pedro Poveda Special School, and in the “Balwadi” school with small children under 3 years old.

In the afternoon we used to carry out a multitude of different activities: teaching Spanish, English and painting, learning Kannada, the local language, practising yoga, Indian dancing ... etc.

During the weekend our routine used to change a bit, so we went for shopping to the local market, visited nearby places or lived other interesting experiences such as attending a Hindu wedding.

And why this trip? What can we say after living this thrilling experience? Apart from being a very different one, we were very impressed with everyone's ability to share absolutely everything, from the simplest thing to the deepest feeling.

We have experienced very unique moments and that will undoubtedly remain in our memory forever; some very funny moments and others of deep encounter with culture and community; from playing with the children and seeing their faces full of great happiness or running athletics and observing how the boys will find incredible that a girl could beat them, or having the funniest experience while travelling by local buses where space was so reduced but no one was left out and all the passengers had to place ourselves as if we were pieces of a Tetris!

All of us agreed that learning and living with the people especially teachers and children, have helped us to be more grateful to what we have, even if it is such a simple thing as a hot shower; no doubt that they have taught us how to get the best version of ourselves and we will remember this great valuable lesson forever! They live this with very naturally, and with a smile everything can be done, life is more positive and cheerful if you smile even with difficulties.

Finally, the most used expression by us was: “there is always place for  somebody else", meaning that we will never forget that sharing creates community, strengthens ties and widens the heart and the spirit.

Thank you for allowing us to be part of this great experience!

By:   María Romero Ortíz de Zárate