Kerala, was always going to be the highlight of our 5 weeks in India, I just knew it, and guess what? It didn't disappoint me. When I say we found the light, I mean that in so many ways.... Virginia
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Day to Day Life
Finding the light in Kerala
Submitted by Virginia - Wellington New Zealand | April 22, 2017
Kerala, was always going to be the highlight of our 5 weeks in India, I just knew it, and guess what? It didn't disappoint me. When I say we found the light, I mean that in so many ways. Literally, the light was soft and the sunsets were spectacular as the sun dipped below the skyline over the Indian Ocean. Figuratively ,the light was everywhere, it radiated from people, drew us into cafes and shops, and then tumbled us back out onto the unhurried pedestrian roads for more adventures and laughs in this beautiful city.
We arrived at the VJ house late at night in mid-March after a tough couple of weeks in Kolkata, ready to get stuck and have an adventure while we worked with the Women's empowerment program. Kerala though would have none of that, and after meeting our glorious girls, Geetha, Medhu and Gina, and four other volunteers early on Saturday, we began a weekend that seemed to go on forever! Food is a big part of life in Kerala, and Gina is a superb cook, spoiling all volunteers at breakfast and lunch. It seemed important to enjoy your weekends, and every effort was made to ensure everyone had plans in place to do just that. We opted for a trip down south to the backwaters, but not on a houseboat, instead visiting Philipkutty Farm, and feasting on the truely inspired food, cooked by owner Anu, and her family. Riding back on the bus, the light did magic tricks again, or maybe I was just blissed out on what may be the best food I have ever eaten!
OK, we did start work on Monday, but true to their word, the staff here make sure you are well set up as volunteers with time to plan, and a cupboard full of resources. We mostly paired up, as everyone knows that it's more fun that way, and headed out to the various sites, ours being the women's empowerment class.
I am yet to be convinced that we as volunteers give more than we receive, as every day with VJ, I was challenged and every evening I reflected on how much I had learned, ( or how much light had shone on me!) However meeting these amazing women, 6 each morning, and another 4 each afternoon, I felt that it really mattered to them that we had come to spend time in their world. As many of them had tertiary degrees, ( Kerala has the highest literacy in India), and good English, we involved them in lesson planning, and ended up focusing on speaking. We worked towards doing presentations by the end of the week, and had many laughs, shared food, and all around enlightenment!
I loved every moment everywhere in Fort Kochi, and am so glad I found the light!