Two Australians, One Bedroom, Six Weeks.
For 6 weeks, the lovely Bec and Thao shared one room. It started out as a big mess – partly because of Bec and her six huge bags of unnecessary junk. After Thao finally familiarised herself with and accepted the fact she’d be living in a constant state of mess, she and Bec got along great. Of course, Bec had to additionally get used to Thao’s particularities and her strangely long showers – so much so that she would have to set her alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual just to get in first. Although they would teach at different schools for the entyrety of their stay, they had many adventures together and with the other lovely volunteers.
Their first weekend together involved an overly long and tedious trip to Varkala (via Chennai). They, along with all the other volunteers with their crazy non-Australian accents, spent lots of time eating at Little Tibet while Bec was conned into paying more for a single dress than the accommodation itself. The following weekend was spent on the Backwaters being too relaxed, being fed too much and playing too many truth and dare games. Another weekend was spent at Periyar, in which they both lived up to their laid-back stereotype and sat around, refusing to partake in the so-called ‘beautiful’ but leech-infestedtrek (a wise decision in the end, they told themselves).
Within the schools themselves, Bec was Breakfast queen – giving the girls at the orphanage their food each and every morning. Thao was additionally extremely helpful in her efforts at standing around, waving at the kids while they tried to eat. After breakfast however, Bec would travel to SDPY (the second school that GVI is affiliated with) where she would teach three classes and a handful of one-to-one tuition sessions. Bec claims that teaching a class of 50 is like working in a zoo full of insanely adorable monkeys; children climbing on and under tables, jumping everywhere and generally hanging off each other is nothing special at this particular school. Although sometimes hard to control, the children are keen to learn and desperate for your attention – they will shake your hands and give you high-fives at any possible chance. One-to-one sessions are slightly more relaxing and a great way to get to know some of the kids better. Overall, the teachers and students at SDPY are very welcoming and it was an amazing time for Bec to spend her six weeks of teaching.
On the other end of the Australian spectrum, Thao would stay at Auxilium and take a class of 7 beautiful Manipur children and a group of cheeky boys for tuition. She would teach them various and important skills such as essay writing, algebra and first aid whilst undoubtedly having the single most amazing time with the children. Whilst constantly wishing she had signed on for another 8 weeks, Thao was fortunate enough to be able to experience an array of special days and activities throughout her stay. These included but were not limited to: Teacher’s Day, Gratitude Day, Diwali, Children’s Day and Sports Day.
Both Thao and Bec would like to give their sincerest thanks to GVI, Ross and Ridhi for making their time here one of the best of their lives. From the weekend trips away, to the long but entyrely fulfilling days at SDPY and Auxilium respectively, to living in an extremely hectic albeit amusing house in Fort Kochi with an array of amazing volunteers and one very amazing project co-ordinator, to dreaming about Kati Rolls, to eating too much cake and chocolate pie and iced tea and chai at Kashi (so much so that Thao had a rapport with a waiter in which he remembered her ‘usual’), to meeting one of the nicest people in the whole entyre world – Jutten, our regular tuk-tuk driver – who will be extremely, extremely missed, (phew!)
This experience with GVI has been one to remember.
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