Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Over a week has past!!!

I have been at the Parijat Academy for a little over a week and sooo much has happened.
When I first got here, I was nervous. It was all like a dream to me, never had I imagined that I would be given an opportunity to travel to another country to volunteer. This was really unreal, a very different culture, with very different people. The childen here were very shy when they first saw me, they didnt speak much...instead they gave shy smiles and covered their faces. When I entered the classrooms I was amazed at all bright smiles and loud voices that I heard welcome me with "Good Morning Madam"....Were these the same children that were afraid to look my way lol. This was the assurance that I needed that everything would work itself out. As the week went on, I jumped from grade 1 to grade 9 reading and math, and the children became very comfortable with me. They even started to answer my questions.
Within the first week, because it is so rare for American tourists to come to NE India, I was featured in the Times of India newspaper and on a local FM radio station, (BIG 92.7). It was a great experience, people are so interested in the reasoning behind me choosing Assam rather than the places that attract tourists, or why I chose to come to India instead of working at home for the summer to make money. And the answer is simple to me, I chose a rural environment because I wanted to fully understand the children's struggle that I am helping and I am passionate about helping children...to me the benefit of what I am doing is more important than the conditions that I will have to live in while I am here.
Uttam, the principal and founder of the school has taken me around the city of Guwahati. We have been to many places and I got to see the real beauty that is often looked over when people think about India. The streets are very different and much more dirty than those of the US, but the culture is profound and the views of the mountain ranges just beyond the river shows that beauty still lies here. Uttam has showed me the Kamakhya temple...we climbed to te very top of the hills leading to the temple, and we could see the entire city of Guwahati. It was A-MAZ-ING . I am still trying to get used to walking on the left side of the street, there are many days that I almost get hit by vehicles lol.
I am just getting over strep throat....I have gotten it before, but it really sucked to have it at this time. The weather is really hot here, and at times (it seems to be on the hottest days) there will be no current, which provides running water and electricity. For two days, I was in the bed with high fever and throat pains and there was no current at the time. Uttam and his family really tok care of me while I was ill. They were all really worried, but I knew what was going on so I had to reassure them that I would be ok and it was no need for me to go to the hospital. I had proper medicine to treat this so everything would go fine. I was really pleased to see the hospitality that I recieved from Uttams family from the minute that I stepped foot on Parijat Academy's campus, but the care that I received while I was ill made me feel at home. Even the hostel children came to make sure I was ok and brought me cups of warm water. I felt safe and I knew that I would be alright.
Today started a new school week for me, the current is back and the children are smiling....it makes me happy. Will post again soon!!!

1 comment:

  1. There is a steady stream of American tourists to the North East these days....I think the fact that you are volunteering at Parijat must have made the press get very interested.

    It is also a first ever.

    Fairfax VA