Summer 2010 Will Remain Cherished in my Heart for a Long Time!

India 2010_4
Summer 2010 will definitely remain cherished in my heart for a very long time! SPYS offered me the opportunity to experience 4 weeks in a rural town, Chhota Udepur, which lies in the western side of India.

Together with my friend Darinka, we lived in one of Don Bosco's boarding schools which caters around 800 students, of which 367 are boarders. These children all come from poor villages and form part of the Rathwa tribe.

On a daily basis, we used to visit these villages approximately at a driving distance of 30-60 minutes by jeep. In these villages we participated in the primary classes and conducted craft sessions for kids under 10 years of age. These classes are all organised by the Salesians of Don Bosco. Darinka and myself used to bond with these kids either by singing nursery rhymes, hand painting or by giving them a couple of sweets. It's so impressive, the simple life these people live. They are extremely poor and yet so happy as if they are not realising how deprived they are from the commodities that we actually identify as needs.

Sometimes we also visited an actual family residence; a house which is made up of wooden slabs, where a number of families lived together under the same roof. My eyes could not grasp all the happenings around me. Ironically enough I used to feel as if I had been transferred to another era; living a life that we portray in cribs, surrounded by sheep, cows, and barefoot children barely covered in cloth, unclean water, paths instead of roads and much more, an endless list!! I've changed. I've become so conscious of the mishandling of resources in the way we live.

At the Don Bosco high school, we loved teaching English in a creative manner and give them information about our little island and how we live. The kids just loved our presence and appreciated our minimal attention.

What about the recreation part of the day?! With these kids, the energy level during games, such as volleyball and squareball, used to soar up.

The 4 weeks flew. As much as we loved it, it turned us so sad that we had to depart. They became friends and part of our life in such a short time.

I wish I could express my gratitude towards SPYS for giving me this, not just an experience but a whole new perspective of absorbing life. I do urge those of you who would like to share some of their time with these kids to go for it. Believe me, it will be an investment that its value will keep on giving dividend each day, cause you will gain much more than you actually give!!

Written by Mariella Zahra (Maltese Volunteer)