Volunteer Testimonial

If I could sum up my time in India with two words, I would have to use the words magical and inspirational. The magical part was the way in which the overall experience came together.  While in India, I had the privledge of working with over 800 youth at their sleepaway camp experience.

 

On the plane ride over, I was extremely nervous and scared. I was afraid of how I would be perceived due to my big hair and funny looking clothes. I was worried the language barrier would make it hard for me to communicate with the boys and the fellows that were assisting with the proogram. I was relieved once I arrived and was so warmly welcomed by the boys of the camp with a rousing hand clap and standing ovation. My big hair and clothes ended up being cross cultural conversation starters as I interacted with boys. This put all tension aside and I had my first plate of “real” curry and rice, in what was to be a transformative experience.

 

Each day, I worked with the fellows to make sure they had the Chopart lesson for the day prepared for the students. I would assist with teaching the lessons as well as make sure the students were remaining attentive and quiet throughout the lesson. Some of the boys had never drawn or even worked with paint but were able to create absolute masterpieces. Watching them focus on their works for hours on end was such an inspirational part of my experience. It showed me the power of the mind and a committed spirit. Every day they showed up with enthusiasm and smiles. Some days, the power would go out while the boys were working and they would not stop perfecting their pieces. Other days, it would be well past the time allotted for art class and they would continue working diligently on their art.

 

The closing ceremony was the most magical day of them all. Myself,  a select few artists from my class and some of the fellows created an outdoor art gallery for the commissioner of the camp and for fellow campers to enjoy. People finally got a chance to see what we had been working on day after day from 5-8 in our little classroom on the second floor. People were amazed by colors, the attention to detail and the overall creative expression of “my boys.” Presenting to the commissioner what they worked on each day was nerve-wracking but he truly appreciated this artistic element that was now an embedded part of the Kaarmic Education Services program.

 

The magic and inspiration I experienced while on this trip lives on, as I interact with friends I met in India via Facebook and Skype. One thing I learned from “my boys” is to be resilient and happy no matter what. Their circumstance, once they went back home, would not be the best but they all continued to strive for excellence inside and outside of the classroom. The inspirational part of the trip was being able to work with a group of beautiful fellows, interns, teachers and administrators. They all showed me that we are a global community and I cannot express how much this trip changed my life for the better. I truly feel I can do anything from teach, to travel across the world all alone, to make someone’s life better. I hope to go back sometime soon and would recommend the Chopart curriculum and The Kaarmic Education Services program to any and every one looking to help transform the world.

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