On Tuesday morning we set off for the rural village of Hosavidahundi arrving at 11 o’clock. We were greeted by the whole village and the team of Raleigh International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteers with garlands of flowers.
Currently, there are 583 people living in the village. The village has one main street with four other streets of houses. The primary industry in and around the village is cotton farming. For every 100kg of cotton, workers receive a gross income of 5000 rupees (£65). Workers in the field can expect to earn around 100 rupees a day (£1.20) for 7-8 hours work.
We began by helping the volunteers finishing a social map of the village. The map was a great way for the village, both literate and illiterate, to understand the resources in their village and it also meant the volunteers could see how well residents knew the village, the resources they had and the population. This was the first time the villagers got together to visualise Hosavidahundi.
We were invited into the home of Gita who cooked us a lovely lunch.
Then the 38 children in the school welcomed us with songs, dances and drama. It was very humbling to see that the children had put in so much work to welcome us. Some of the children sang songs in Kanada (the language of the region) and some sang songs in English. They danced and even wrote a short play for us! When they had finished, we used the remaining half and hour to teach them some English nursery rhymes. The school was very different to QE Girls!
The children finished school at 4 and, after hours of piggy back rides and running around, Cecilia started a holi, a traditional festival where people through powdered paint at each other.
After setting up our beds in the school hall, we took our saris down to some of the villagers houses who put them on for us and we walked down to the school grounds for some dancing and dinner.
Throughout the day, we learnt about Raleigh’s work in India and met their project partner MYKAPS. MYKAPS delivers grass roots community development work throughout South India.
Overall, we had the most amazing time and it was a truly unforgettable experience.
Speak soon, bye x
* ICS is a development programme that brings together young people aged 18-25 to fight poverty and make a difference where it is needed most. ICS is funded by the Department for International Development and currently works in 28 developing countries across the world. By 2015 it aims to recruit and train 7,000 UK young people and 7,000 young people from developing countries, who will go on to become active citizens who are passionate about and involved in community-based volunteering. Raleigh ICS is currently delivered in India and Nicaragua and we’ll be starting in Tanzania this summer. ICS is delivered by a consortium of respected development organisations, led by VSO, working with Restless Development, International Service, Raleigh International, Tearfund and Progression.