Those moments of doubts…

Volunteering is so intense that it does not let you step back and think about what you threw yourself into. You just do it because you are here for a certain amount of time, soon you will be gone and you know if you do not make the most of you time in the country & on the project, you will regret it. So much. So you do all the things that come across your way not to miss anything. Adrenaline is present, every single day, as you learn something new, whether it is a new word in the local language, a new tradition, a new religious festival, or meet new people. This is probably the reason why I have not been writing a blog while I was abroad and I do it now, 7 years later. All those years, I have seen how the experience has changed me forever and I know more than ever the benefit of such an experience out in the World. You only get to think about what has happened to you during the day at night before sleeping, all the good things that would not have happened to you if you had stayed at home, your pupils’ progress and then sometimes you wonder if your efforts are worth it, what will happen when you go back home, who will take over your duty to teach your little students, or indeed, is the question rather: will they have somebody taking over, should you be worried about their future etc… In one of these moments of doubt, I went to see Vinita the next morning, one of the Directors of my host organization. Vinita is a very sweet person, she listened to me, then she told me the story of that girl named Anu, who used to live in another slum than the one where I was teaching. She was, as a little girl, following a class like mine with some other Volunteer. When she became a teenager the host organization offered her to keep studying for free, she was so brilliant, we could not afford wasting her intelligence, but her family and Community were reluctant to the idea (for reasons explained in my post called “Women’s condition in India”). The host organization tried to smooth things by talking to the family, explained that she would be in a better position to help the family financially if she was allowed to go to that class, than if she worked at home and it was a long-term investment. Her relatives finally accepted that their daughter attends Computer classes after her work at home, if she wished, and Anu did for 2 or 3 years. Then after she ended the last level of that course, she was delivered a Certificate proving her achievements. She looked for a job in order to help her parents at home raising her brothers and sisters, and found a job in a small company as a secretary in Jaipur city centre, because she knew how to read, write and type on the computer. From that day, she became popular in her Slum, everybody knew she was the successful woman who had to fight in order to get Education, who was lucky enough to be given the chance, thanks to IDEX (Indian Development Exchange), who was nor financially independent, and who could now help her father bring money at home for the family. That was a lovely story, and by telling me that story, Vinita has managed to boost my hopes again. I was not here for nothing, and I was now convinced of it again!

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