Just as I suspected, my last few weeks in India are flying by. More volunteers have been popping up at our organization and it’s been really interesting to watch them go through the initial stages of confusion and frustration that comes with living and working in a completely new environment. The more I observe their actions and listen to how their feeling the more thankful I am for our EdGe training, and I guess just my overall attitude towards volunteering. I know that I arrived pretty recently myself and definitely had my share of embarrassments at first, but I do feel like all the effort I gave to immerse myself and respect the people around me has counted a lot and has helped me connect more quickly and deeply with the people here. The most shocking for me is definitely the lack of effort, and it seems like many of the new volunteers are acting this way. Complaining about the food, not coming to meals, and not taking part of the Functional English program even though the staff personally asked us to gives off a really ungrateful vibe in my opinion. Most are only staying for 2-3 weeks- which of course causes a whole host of other problems. The campus is very large and teaches over a thousand kids everyday so there is work to be done if they want to put the effort in, but you could easily get by here with only doing very little. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to put together a routine that keeps me busy and satisfied every day. My schedule is now..
6:14 am: Wake up
6:30-7:30 –Bath the young hostel boys and girls and get them ready for school
8:00 – breakfast
8:30- Teach 14-15 year olds in the Functional English program
9:30-12:30- Pretty much the only free time of the day, work on interviews for my honors thesis, write/research for honors and capstone
2:00- English teaching to 12 year olds
4:30- Functional English again
5-6:00-Football time with all the kids after school. I’ve never been in to sports at all but I absolutely love running around with them. We also work on the heritage appreciation project during this time
6:00- Prayer time for the hostel kids. It’s called prayer but since Sevalaya encourages respect for all religions I think the messages are more about self empowerment. All the kids sit outside and chant and mediate for about 30 minutes and then get a snack.
6-7:00- Painting the boy’s hostel. Right now we’re working on a world map and are having so much fun getting the boys to help, too. It was pretty sad in there before because the walls were bare and all painted the same color so I think the change is going to be really nice.
7-8:00- Homework help for the older kids. They already know a lot of English but a lot need help putting written sentences in the correct order.
8-10:00 – Dinner, shower, then bed. By this time we’re so exhausted.
Of course things come up a lot to throw this schedule off but this is a basic summary of my day. Even though I feel frustrated sometimes about the lack of efficiency or impossible requests from the staff (like wanting us to teach four more classes in a row each morning when the text book is in Tamil and are already busy during that time..) , life is so simple here and I know it will be impossible not to miss.