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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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IMOGEN CATLING
British

Care for Orphans Voluntary Project in Madurai, India

         

After being in India for just over three months I can say that I 90% love it, and 10% hate it! To me, there is no in between – India is either inspiring, magical and beautiful, or frustrating, dirty and archaic. However, I only feel negative when I am ill, which has happened a fair few times – thanks Karen for putting up with my moaning, “I think I’m going to die!” 

Illness aside, there are so many other reasons to enjoy Madurai. The people are friendly and have a beautiful sense of humility, positivity and spirituality. I have thoroughly enjoyed walking around the city, answering curious questions and embracing the richly diverse culture. 

The children I have worked with are all my little darlings and I want them never to leave me and stay young, innocent and perfect!  Spoil them all for me – ignore Elizabeth's mollycoddling, she loves it really!  My Indian surrogate mother – will miss her almost as much as the children. When the children look happy to see you, they usually want a “mittay” or sweetie – give in to them sometimes! 

I have fallen in love with Kerala. In the south I visited Kodaikanal, Periyar (twice!), Pondicherry and Varkala. In the North I visited Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra, Ahmedebad and Udaipur. A must because the North is so different and interesting.

To summarise, I have spent too much in the Tailors Market, been covered in babies regurgitation, had my hair ‘styled’ by school kids, shouted at auto drivers, hung out with crazy Germans, smoked too much Gold Flake, got packages from England containing Heat magazine, been on a drip, been on antibiotics 4 times, drunk too much India coffee, been smothered in blessing powder and watched so many cheesy dvds. 

Karen and Pradeep could not have been more generous with their time and so helpful. Jeya has the best laugh I have EVER heard and will make you dinner on the sofa when you’re sick. Robin – “Shall we go for a smoke?” – he is the daddy of Madurai! I love everyone I’ve met here (apart from some auto drivers!) and I’m sure I’ll be back.

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