Monday, 9 May 2016

The multiple colors of India

My experience in EduCARE started in the beginning of September 2015, in the rainy monsoon season and in one of the rainiest place in the world, Dharamsala. I arrived in this little village called Naddi and I was delighted by the amazing view on Himalayan Mountains and the Kangra valley. Since the first second there, I felt in a place welcoming, calm and serene. Apart from the crazy rain that could start without warning you and last for hours and hours, the first days in this peaceful village enchanted my senses. People are very nice to you: they don’t hesitate to invite you for a chai or a dinner at their house. These first days surrounded by warm and welcoming people made me feel already like at home.

My first months in the organization were very special to me, I was discovering more than India in itself. By many ways, the internship I did was a first experience for a lot of things. It was the first time I worked abroad, outside my home country. It was the first time I worked in an NGO. It was the first time I lived with a roommate and in an interns’ house. It was the first time I stayed a long time away from my family and my friends.

Meeting the other new interns during the induction and spending some time together made me realize that EduCARE is more than an organization, it is a family welcoming people from all over the world: Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, etc. Sharing my experience with other interns from different countries around the world was a gift. Living with the center interns made me discover and appreciate life in community. Enjoying free time with my roommates and the other interns, partnering and collaborating with them on different projects, supporting each other: it was amazing to do all these things.

This internship in EduCARE has been also the opportunity for me to travel around India. Working in EduCARE allowed me to get to the other centers of the organization and to enjoy the different tastes of North India: doing a camel safari in the hot and dry Thar Desert in Rajasthan, walking in the noisy and crowded streets of Punjab while enjoying Bhangra (local) music and trekking in the freezing Himalayan range. I particularly enjoyed the different outdoor activities offered by the Himalayan Moutains: it was awesome to be able to do trekking and hiking in these outstanding landscapes.

During my holidays, I experienced most of the beautiful sights that North India can offer: palaces, forts, tombs and plenty of temples. During my travels, I also enjoyed urban India with the crazy Delhi and the outstanding Mumbai, which were good breaks from the countryside. Particularly, these travels made me discover how diverse India is: rural and urban, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Jains, dry and humid, cold and hot. I never saw this much diversity before and it was fascinating that all this diversity was standing in harmony.

I enjoyed a lot being an EduCARE intern. These eight months with the organization were very intense and every day was giving me a different experience from my internship in India. I thank all the people that I met during my internship, all the EduCARE interns, Naddi villagers, Naddi interns and the other people I met in India for making this experience unique. Meeting people from everywhere in the world, contributing to rural development, challenging myself with project management, enjoying Indian cultural diversity and spicy food, experiencing the crazy but also incredible country's sights, and, last but not least, living by myself far from my home country. In a nutshell, I would say that I learnt more in eight months of experience than in the rest of my life:
"You cannot create experience. You must undergo it" (A. Camus)

Kevin Sundareswaran - France
SWASH Project Manager / Project Coordinator in Naddi

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