StephanieFerrao's Travel Journals

StephanieFerrao

 
What do you want to do the next time you travel abroad?

learn a language, experience a new culture through volunteering

  • From Tanzania
  • Currently in United States

Mysore

My internship through ProIndia is turning out to be more than just a learning experience. This journal will go over my journey of personal self-discovery and my increasing understanding of the cultural similarities

The first steps

India Mysore, India  |  Jul 14, 2009
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 My work with the kids at the school has been the best part so far. They are full of energy, persistent, and like most children playful. 

I arrived in Mumbai, India. The first thing that struck me was the traffic congestion. I used to think the traffic in Dar es Salaam was bad, but this took me by surprise. I have many daily apprehensions, but crossing roads was never one till now. The honking is continual and from the looks of it, most drivers follow three lanes on a two-lane road. People seem so apt at swerving that it has become second nature. However, this may be partly because the local cows here have a tendency to cross the road as well. The most interesting part so far has been to discover that some people here have "back- up" music, which plays when their cars reverse. After a week of being here, I realize that I am going to miss this particular type of background sound.

My internship here has given me a chance to experience the Indian culture in ways I would not have experienced if I had come as a tourist. Most people seem to understand me when I speak, despite their limited usage of English or my ineptitude with Kannada, the local language. I am meeting different people, discovering new parts of Indian culture and learning to love old ones. For instance, I have always enjoyed Indian food due to my Indian heritage, and being here helps cement that fact. My daily vegetarian diet consists of a lot of rice and spicy curries accompanied by lassi, a yoghurt based drink, and Indian chai (which is simply incredible!). Chai in India, in comparison to what I am accustomed to in Tanzania, is more milk based and served in potent 200ml servings. 

My work with the children at the school, Kaliyuva Mane, has been the best part of this internship. The children are full of energy, persistent, and like most children playful. The recent construction at their school has brought them a new auditorium. Another intern and I will be working on painting a mural on the external part of the roof. I am excited about the work and hope the kids will love it. One little boy, Shivaraj, looked at our preliminary sketches and cried “Super!”.  Yes, every youth group has their equivalent of “awesome." Their grasp of English and their eagerness to teach me Kannada is gratifying as it is overwhelming. I have come to learn from the children that an entire day can be spent learning the same game repeatedly without a dull moment. I taught one little boy how to do the actions to the song, ‘If you are happy and you know it’ and now it has become his constant request.

The school is a non-profit which enrols students who have dropped out of school due to lack of financial resources and academic support. Most of the students are day scholars and the rest are boarding scholars, who reside in the school's dormitory. I have definitely already noticed their distinct personalities, even though I am still getting acquaintained with most of the children in my class. The school has given them the freedom to grow into individuals, and I am looking forward to learning more about them.

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  • The first steps

    July 14, 2009
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