Monday, January 24, 2011

Empowering the Children - after the volunteers

Now that we are all back home I expect that the volunteers will all be unpacking not only their suitcases, but their memories of India. As you've read we had a very busy week learning about education, empowerment, friendship and the human spirit. I want to thank Rosalie for teaching us about slum life and the richness of its inhabitants and for sharing her 'kids' at all the Prayrona schools and at Prabartak, planning our programs and making sure we were all happy! When Rosalie's kids are smiling and happy, Rosalie is happy, so I think she had a fabulous week too! Also, thanks to Ashit for keeping an eye on us (and the drivers) and for translating and always being at the end of a cell phone in case we needed him. And Reena, teacher extraordinaire whose smiles and hugs are of the long-lasting type. Maura Hurley, brought her friend, the maker of scrolls, to RCFC and translated this ancient art for the volunteers as Karuna sang. Her daughter, 'mini Maura,' thought up the program at the pre-vocational school for teenage girls and participated with us as well, along with Maura. Always smiling, Maura's kind heart and translation skills regarding not just the Bengali language but the culture were much appreciated.
We plan to post photos of the art of the vocational schools soon and hopefully anyone will be able to purchase hand embroidered saris, note cards and table coverings and help continue the work of Rosalie, Shelley and others in Kolkata.  Visit for background and information on these programs - updates are coming to the site as Liz, a college student from Chicago and ETC volunteer, completes her stay in India with Rosalie. Chelsea has remained in India too until mid-February to work with Rosalie.
Finally, thank you to all the volunteers Barry and Andrea, the "Pattys" (Patti and Patty, actually), Gary, Kira, Willson, Tate, Chelsea, Caitlin and David for your hard work, patience and flexibility. Hope to see you all again soon at our reunion with Rosalie when she returns to the US for the summer.
And after India? There are plans in the works for Ecuador (I will post some info from last year's trip), maybe Vietnam? And certainly a return to India in 2012. I will also be occasionally posting news about volunteer opportunities both local and international. It's been wonderful, we will do it again, but 'tata' for now!

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