My journey of volunteering with India begins from Wagha border. I travelled from Lahore to Delhi by bus. The journey was long but full of comforts. During journey we had stops and I enjoyed the scenic beauty a lot. After reaching Delhi, I immediately had to take train ticket for Jaipur. Next day I started my journey towards Jaipur. It was comfortable journey but long.
As I reached the station few children were standing in a group form holding a card of my name. I greeted them and they were excited to tell me that they were my to be students.
A jeep was waiting and I was directly taken to the small city of Sikar two hours away from Jaipur and arrived at the beautiful Bajaj Bhawan Haveli which was to be my home for the project duration. I was welcomed by all the lovely and friendly staff and made to feel at home straight away.
Vinod joined me for dinner. He told me minute details of the program and all the cultural norms and values and few tricks of dealing with people. He was a very sweet and helpful soul. I enjoyed talking to him and we talked about different bazaars and different Indian cuisines. He promised me to take me to a beautiful temple in Jaipur. He told me I can enjoy next two days roaming here and there but I was enthusiastic to start off with my work and then enjoy later on. He appreciated my zeal and devotion to the cause.
Next day I met my students, who were happy to see me. They were 46 in number and belonged to different age groups. The very first day I told them to introduce themselves to me one by one. I wanted to eliminate the content of shyness from them. Then I gave them certain activities to know their potential and explore their abilities. This I did with a purpose to devise a plan for them. We used to have daily vocabulary sessions and coloring for small age students and there were some art activities. They used to enjoy the lessons. These were interactive lessons and every student used to participate.
They used to enjoy my company and I used to enjoy theirs.
We also used to meet over the weekends. And they used to be my guides.
We daily used to repeat our previous days lessons. And I taught them to make files and they decorated them. In these hand made files I kept their records of their progress and development. I regularly used to take tests from them and awarded them on their performance, this thing installed sense of motivation in them.
It was a very exciting time to be volunteering with the Bajaj Trust. The staff and their families are all so friendly and welcoming we felt so at home and really part of the team when we were there, and since leaving we are still in regular contact. At times we used to sit and talk about our life experiences and the problems we were facing.
One day I cooked my traditional food for them which they enjoyed a lot and asked me for recipes. We also arranged a picnic one weekend, and had loads of fun.
I used to go to bazaars and as I am a shopaholic, I shopped a lot and when shopkeepers used to notice that I am a foreigner they used to give me special discounts.
I got gifts for my family and friends back home.
And by the end I finally learned how to wear sari which was my biggest achievement besides the other main cause.
Working as a volunteer was my biggest experience and taught me how to interact with people and intermingle with them. I was taking a lot from this program, the satisfaction and inner peace was my biggest achievement.
The happiest moment was when I used to see sparkle and shine in my students eyes when they were done with their tasks. I used to love their eager, desperate and enthusiastic faces.
I thank every person who gave me this opportunity.