The City That Gives So
Much Love,

Jaipur stole my heart!

Jaipur is the kindest and homeliest place I have ever travelled to. The city gives you so much love without expecting anything in return. I spent a total of nearly 4 weeks in Jaipur and 3 weeks volunteering and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

Pre-departure I couldn’t contain my excitement! Who knew I was about to embark on such a special adventure with special people. I went with absolutely no expectations and wanted every day to feel like a new beginning. I met Peeyush (programme coordinator) at Jaipur airport who greeted me very warmly; travelling in his car, hearing all the honks, smelling the air, I knew this was where I belonged! When I saw the newly built accommodation I was in disbelief, I felt like I had been upgraded – it was such a homely living space and I felt like I was in safe hands. Kapil, the office manager, was also an absolute delight and made me feel at home too, he even made me some homemade chai which was the perfect start to my adventure.  

" If you’re in two minds on whether to go on this journey, do it! "

I spent each week in 3 different programmes –Teaching, Childcare and Special Care Needs and all of them were a completely different experience. Teaching felt so rewarding. I ended up having Class 9 and Class 10 who were basically teenagers! 

I was initially feeling a bit anxious on my first day, but I just put that aside and went with the flow of things and they ended up loving me. I was able to build unique connections with so many of them. They were so disciplined, caring and so smiley!

Childcare ended up being a mixture of teaching! Peeyush took me to the Daycare Centre and as soon as I got out the car, the little kids came running to hug me. I was immediately so touched. What a bundle of joy in the morning! I taught, I swept, I cleaned, I tidied, I gave them food/water, we played games, we danced, we sang and it was so magical. The only concern I had was that they were allowed to drink water from the hose pipe, but I guess they are used to it when the water isn’t running inside.

I ended up going to a slum school to teach in the last few days and who knew what was about to commence on the day I was about to start teaching! I accidentally left my phone in the Auto and after an hour of hassle and anxiety, I managed to get in touch with the driver of the Auto and he said he would come back with my phone to the location he dropped me off at.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when he actually came all the way to give me my phone back. This is a prime example of what I meant by the warm hearts in Jaipur. The teachers were very supportive and reassured me that I would get my phone back, they even prayed for me. When the Auto came, they also walked outside with me to make sure everything was settled correctly. They then invited me to have lunch with them on the terrace with the children! I couldn’t believe the hospitality I was receiving especially because this was the first time I was meeting them and I’m a complete stranger from abroad, but we all sat on the floor and the teachers all shared their lunch with us like we were family.

Special Care Needs is exactly what the title says – they are special in so many different ways, it’s hard not to get attached to them. They are a bundle of joy and you really try to put the extra effort to help them along their journey. My heart felt really full when I was able to feed them and spend 1-1 sessions with them improving their communication skills.

In between the volunteering I was very appreciative of Rahul (Founder of the programmes) and his family for providing an impeccable experience at his home for all the festivities that took place during my time there including Makar Sankranti and Republic Day, I felt like I was living life as a true local! I was also really fortunate to meet such a wonderful neighbour who looked out for me whilst I was there and who I now consider as my elder sister that I regularly communicate with still. On this 3 week journey I also met another kind-hearted volunteer who was like another Mum to me and I also gained a younger sister who I love very much. The connections you gain will be so real and special.

If you’ve made it through this far, I’m grateful. I hope you’ve enjoyed experiencing my journey through my words! Every day in India will never be the same. Expect the unexpected, there will be hurdles, but remember your prime purpose - you’re there to give back. Time will be precious and it will go very quickly when you’re out there, so make sure you’ve put your heart and soul into the volunteering. It won’t come back. If you’re in two minds on whether to go on this journey, do it! 

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