Report from a volunteer
Rosaline de Vetten: ‘Every time those happy faces make me warm inside’
“Beginning of September 2012 – the time had finally arrived. Just having finished my college at 19 years I stepped into the airplane to Pondicherry. Ready to have a fantastic time as volunteer in the Isai Ma(i)yam children’s home. And those were really three fantastic months! Through people I became familiar with this foundation and I will honestly admit: India was not on the top of my list of enjoying my three months off. But after a couple of phone calls, to India too, it quickly became pretty clear to me: I wanted to go there. The enthusiasm of the team and the children in India, no doubt convinced me directly. From that moment on the ball started rolling very quickly.
When I arrived, I was received by everyone with open arms. That immediately felt good. It is a totally different life and different culture, but that too was part of my new experience. After getting accustomed for nearly a week I didn’t want anything else and, by the way, I still don’t. The children’s happy faces, the hospitality of the Indian people and especially the variety of work that Isai Ma(i)yam offered me, is something I miss very much now that I am back home. Every day was different. Sometimes very quiet, sometimes very busy, but never boring. There was always enough work to be done. Whether it was with a group of fantastic children and supervisors at the Handicap School (Ananda Day Care), at the office, or with the children from the children’s home, I was never bored. Time really flew.
Every day from early morning till the evening you are intensely busy with the children. It was only quiet when they were at school, but then I would mostly be with the handicapped children. Playing games, making drawings, learning English, playing with blocks, always keeping myself busy with them. And each and every time those happy faces made me really warm inside. The gratitude in their eyes for every little bit of personal attention they received… that was my reward. It is really fantastic that Isai Ma(i)yam offers this day care for the children, you really can’t imagine them being at home the whole day because they can’t go to a regular school. The children really flourish and they are so happy to be there every day.
The children from the children’s home also enjoy themselves. Especially when they are in the Gaya House and the Art School near Auroville in the weekends. Just being a child, playing around, having dancing and music lessons, and especially enjoying each other. This is what the children want and especially what the children need. During my short stay in India I have learned a lot, about a totally different culture, about people’s gratitude, about the fantastic opportunities Isai Ma(i)yam offers the children, and lots of other things which will always be a part of me. I am tremendously happy and grateful that I have been able to experience this. Yes, I will absolutely return some time to this foundation that does tremendously good work for children and youngsters!”