Volunteers

Louis Gray India

What members of staff do you remember the most and why?

Teachers 

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
It was very basic but no less than what I expected, to be honest I was just happy I had a bed of any sort.

Why did you want to volunteer? 
I wanted to be a volunteer first and foremost to really experience India and see what it’s like for the children that live there. Furthermore I have always been interested in teaching as a future profession so I wanted to gain some practice on what it’s like to work in a school, however different it may be.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I believe, and hope, that I made a difference. I became very close with some of the children and I changed their exams paper to be more relevant as well as some of the mistakes in the text books. I hope that people will continue to point out where the teaching has gone wrong so the school can develop.

What did you do for fun?
Whilst I was at the school we played a lot of cards and a fair bit of cricket in the schoolyard. There was also a lot of general chit chat as I didn’t know anyone else there so I had lots to find out. For the weekends we would go away to Pondicherry or Mamallapuram and have a drink and chill in a hotel.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The most enjoyable experience I had was just generally working within my class(5-6 year olds). But also running an after school cricket club with some of the older children. As far as I know it hadn’t been done before and we played a couple of games using a water bottle as a bat. It was good to see the kids being sporty and active after school had finished. Although there were a couple of arguments over who was in to bat.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I pretty much made friends with everyone there but I suppose my closest friends were the ones who arrived around the time I did. Gary and Benj mainly because they were quite laddish and there weren’t many guys there. Then Lauren, Gemma and Kat who I went travelling with afterwards were just awesome company in short.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise
There aren’t really any places to hang out around the school except the schoolyard and Chapatti man’s place in the village. I suppose Pondicherry and Mamallpuram were the palces to hang out but they were a couple of hours away from Kanjunar.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would absolutely consider volunteering again. Once I have the money and have finished University , and hopefully have job, I would love to volunteer in South America. This is mainly because I have never been to that part of the world and I think volunteering is really good for myself and for the places where I volunteer.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
I would tell them to go firstly. I’d also tell them to be prepared for any sort of illness and accommodation. Just to take everything on the chin and to throw yourself into everything with complete enthusiasm. Too many people reserved themselves.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
A head torch is essential. I didn’t have one and when the power cuts off at 10 in the night and you can’t see the toilet its near impossible to not fall through the hole. Also lots of Imodium and Diarolyte

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
For staying at the school you need next to nothing. 2 pounds a day for the weekdays. However if you plan to go away at the weekend take a lot more because they become expensive. Up to 10/15 pounds a day for the weekend.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers? 
Just to expect the worst because no ones body is going to be prepared for the change in diet and climate so just accept that it’s going to happen. I’d also advise only going on your own or possibly as a two. The larger groups of people tend to keep to themselves and as a result miss out on meeting everyone.