For my first time going to India I wasn’t sure what to expect and admittedly I was very nervous about experiencing such a different culture and environment, but wow when I landed was I ever happy! I was greeted by a young Indian boy in a shirt donned in peace signs and blue waves, we took my luggage to the car and off we went! The drive was only 45 minutes but oh did I wish it went for longer. Driving along to the familiar sounds of Bob Marley and all the new pop queens, I was glued to the window bounded by tall, sky scrapping coconut trees, big blue water, floating casino cruises and fresh fruit markets sprawled along the side of the road. Boy was I happy to call this place home for next two weeks during the Teaching and Community Work in Goa project.
The house was a classic Portuguese yellow and white pastel, much nicer then what I expected with green grass, our very own mango tree and hammock. The staff where as bright and happy as the colour the house, with a cleaner and cook coming every day. The food was predominately western however there was always something different to eat each night with the night we always looked forward to being of course pancake night! The beds were very comfortable, with every room having an ensuite and it was nice sharing with the other girls as it made you that much closer!
I did orientation week and I highly recommend it as you really feel like a local going to yoga, checking out the neighboring markets, experiencing Indian cinema, elephant showers, spice plantation and much more! However working with the kids is so rewarding as difficult it can be sometimes the kids get so excited to see you and you really have such an impact on their day. There is a range of different projects to go to including volunteering with the elderly which I wish I did as well however I went to a summer camp in the morning organized by the convent sisters where you teach and play with the kids and in the afternoon I went to the slums again with kids which is an experience in itself.
Overall I have made beautiful friends, met wonderful people and seen the splendor that is Goa. It was so sad leaving the kids and I am definitely going back to do it all again! I was unsure about paying to volunteer in India, but I understand why you need to now and it was much more than I ever expected.