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William, volunteer in Kerala.

By 5 years ago
Categories Kerala

My name is William. I am 31 and I am volunteering in Kochi, India with GVI.

My futile attempt to put words around an experience as harrowing and beautiful as this is almost disrespectful to its nature. Putting it mildly I can only say that involvement with a project like this shows its greatest beauty once expectations are dismissed and properly stored into their perspective containers.

To state my expectations would only be magnifying my lack of understanding of what it means to travel from first world to a third world and try your best to live within its magnificent sorrow.

Nature’s visual presentation in Kochi alone is enough to humble a proud man and cause a beautiful woman to question her reflection.

But, with no warning comes the best element of the project…

The corridors that were filled with your nervousness and expectation become filled with giggles and the melodic tones of innocent laughter.

And all at once…the quiet explodes into the sights of young eyes, colourful uniforms and a strange familiarity.

And then, you are there…seeing them, smiling with them, playing with them and teaching them.

And slowly, they allow you to see their struggle to find a place in this world. And even slower, you begin to allow them to see you, not only as a volunteer, but as a teacher, a friend and fellow human.

And then, the most humbling event of all begins to soak into you, dissolving your expectations quietly & violently….you realise that they are not “foreign, or underprivileged, or sad” or any other adjective that you may have thought previously….you realise that they are simply….children.

The roles secretly reverse and the teachers become the students and you, the volunteer, begin taking lessons from the children on how to see life as beautiful no matter what your current situation.

And suddenly, if you are humble and quiet enough, you hear their laughter saying repeatedly: “Your situation is not responsible for your happiness….you are!”

What a lesson indeed!
What a lesson indeed!