Volunteer in India
The small hospital waiting room was crowded––full of patients from the surrounding villages seeking medical treatment. The doctor and medical staff hurried to and fro, despite the stifling heat, to treat the overload of patients. This was the scene in Karan Hospital, just outside of Palampur, India, every day. The doctors are heroes here, working endlessly to observe, diagnose and treat the plenitude of patients––a job of at least five doctors in a Western medicine facility. This is what medicine, the pursuit of helping people, is all about.
... my time spent in the hospital reduced the stress on the doctors in a severely understaffed hospital, and made a positive contribution to the people of Palampur. I helped perform tasks such as assisting geriatric patients in and out of their beds, taking blood pressure and vitals of post surgery patients...
I volunteered with ‘street children’ at a local school. The volunteers and I were welcomed with lays, blessed with bracelets, and milk tea. I spent my time teaching English, mathematics, playing, singing, dancing, and learning from the children themselves, as they taught me even more than I could ever teach them. After volunteering, we would head off to some more tourist activities such as, visiting the Akshardham Temple and watching their magnificent water show.
Our way of living in the West differs drastically from the way people live in India. As volunteers we saw incredible things we would have never imagined during our stay, such as how people really live in the slums. This was thanks to coming as a volunteer rather than as a tourist, which allowed us to immerse ourselves into the culture in a special way. We were able to see this unbelievably chaotic borough from the inside (even the inside of the houses!) thanks to the children (students from the school) who guided us through.
In the mornings I worked with children from the Special Needs School in Udaipur, and in the afternoons I taught English in an after school community class. We took the special need children to the zoo and spent a lot of time doing crafts which they loved. As it was Christmas time we spent the last few days before their school holidays making a Christmas tree!
In the Deaf and Mute school, I learned basic Indian Sign language and taught English and vocabulary, and did arts and crafts.When I went to the Community Center, the children were split up into 4-5 different classes based on their age. I spent time with the toddlers and 6-10 year olds. We had so much fun reading, spelling, writing, and counting.