Posts Tagged ‘International Learning Center Sunargaon’

My name is Claire Ferguson, a Program Leader with Operation Groundswell, located in Toronto, Canada
Operation Groundswell is a Toronto based organization that organizes and facilitates 6-week educational and volunteer backpacking programs throughout the world for youth aged 18-30.

Welcome: We were warmly welcomed by the family. The guesthouse was very clean and we felt right at home! Even though it was late, they had dinner ready.
Homestay: The homestay was fantastic. Jeevan’s family is very kind and made us feel like part of the family. It was easy to spend hours lounging around the house.
Family and Food: Gunja cooks so much! I can’t believe how much food is prepared in such a small kitchen. Everything was delicious, and all our participants with allergies or particular food needs were accommodated. There was always LOTS of food, and although we aren’t used to eating so late at night, we were certainly always very hungry once dinner time came around.
Nature: The area is beautiful , although the thought of leopards made it scary to go to the bathroom at night.
Project: I think we were able to contribute what we could to the project, though we weren’t always sure we were being helpful. It wasn’t always clear who decided which member of the community would receive the toilet (whether the community at large decided, or whether the Verma family decided). It would have been nice to know more about the family that we were building the toilet for, to get to know them and their situation, or to learn more about the importance of a clean santitation system, as it is something we often take for granted at home.
Culture: Jeevan did a great job exposing is to Kamaon culture, bringing us to many temples in the area, and inviting us to part of a wedding ceremony. We weren’t really sure what the ceremony was for before we went, but we found out. More information about the marriage process would be interesting.
Community: I think we integrated really well into the Verma family, but didn’t engage much with the rest of the community. Everyone seemed very friendly and welcoming though.
Claire Ferguson
Toronto, Ontario
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Sarah Doughty
158 Ardenlee Avenue
N Ireland

e-mail doughtysarah@googlemail.com

I came to India for the first time hoping to find out about and experience ordinary family and community life. I never expected it to be such a rich and fulfilling time.

Being so far from home on my own for the first time could have been lonely but from my arrival I was immediately made to feel relaxed and looked after. Not once have I felt home sick as Jeevan and his beautiful family have welcomed me into the heart of their home.

On my first day in Kanda we went to Bageshwar to a festival, it was bustling with people, markets and a funfair, singing and dancing and a wonderful air of excitement. We visited with family and friends, I could not stop smiling and felt so lucky to be involved. Since that first day there have been too many wonderful things happen to talk about them all but I will mention leopard spotting, learning to make bricks, making chappatis and an amazing first day of spring.

Jeevan has allowed me to be involved in all aspects of family life and has shown great patience in explaining how the project at ROSE works. It is truly inspirational to see a community so motivated in improving the world around them and helping each other.

I would urge anyone who is interested in learning about organic farming or sustainability, or who wishes to be a part of family life to visit here. Or even bring a skill that you might think could be useful. Your time here will be in your heart forever.

It would be impossible for me to write down all their kindnesses but I thank them for everything they have done for me. I will miss you all.

13 to 22 January 2010

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