Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Gamble with Grassroots

Omprakash is a great site. I think it makes the MOST sense in the world to cut out the middle man in international volunteering. Making it easy for volunteers and organizations to connect without someone else setting it up for you. However, the assurance is there with a middle man, and not with a small NGO.

Upon arriving in India and traveling to Jaipur to meet with the director of CULP- Dr. Kulhari I was told about some changes to our arrangement. I was to be living in a tribal village with no bathrooms, running water, electricity and no English speakers withOUT an interpreter. My main function would be to understand the communities and document the work of CULP and its staff. I was also asked to pay for my stay. I had sent Dr. Kulhari along with Omprakash, a grant outline with all the things I wanted to do while here. That included assisting in an English class, holding a youth group of sorts, working on their website and perhaps looking into starting a page for sponsoring a student/teacher. I was told if I had a tribal assignment, I would be sent with an interpreter and also that I would not need to pay anything for loding, just pay my travel and food expenses. So much was changed on me, and the application I submitted and the things I wanted to do would be simply impossible.

Currently I am in between checking out other organizations I may be able to volunteer with in India instead of CULP and if that doesn't work out, I will be leaving India...much...much...earlier than intended.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

3 More days till INDIA!

  It is absolutely crazy to think I found Omprakash one year ago and started connecting with CULP and creating my grant application for volunteering abroad. What started out as a side project which I never imagined would come to fruition, is ending up to be the biggest event of my young life. After being accepted and all of the investigating, planning, vaccines, packing etc...I am finally ready to go. It seems so surreal that on Thursday I'll be landing in New Delhi, India.
  I will never be able to express my gratitude for the immense support from my friends and family. I spent tonight at my sister Amy's surrounded by loved ones, given goodbye gifts, well-wishes, prayers, blessings and of course, eating, drinking, laughing followed by more laughing. I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to travel and for the network of people around me who have been so supportive.

  The best is yet to come, once I arrive at my destination and begin photographing, taking video and experiencing all that India has to offer.

Thanks, as always, for the support