It's been two weeks since I've returned from India and you probably wouldn't believe me if I had to tell you it all still feels so surreal. I go to my favourite lounge bar to sip on a prosecco and read the newspapers but I can't fully enjoy it as I always did just yet. I go to the shopping mall to get me some bits and bobs but I tell myself I'm gonna have to come back another time because I seem to be a bit distracted these days. I will soon get back to the normal routine again, I know. For now, however, it still feels so surreal.
I left a tiny piece of my heart in India. I gave it to the children in the orphanage we helped rebuild in Munugode. They loved me without expecting anything in return, without asking about my backgroud, without any prejudice. I watched them laugh, I asked them to teach me how to dance, I held them as tight as I could, hoping to God they would remember me. I remember hugging the children and holding them close to me and looking up to the sky, wishing they would one day perhaps mention me with their classmates during their lunch break, or after school or before they go to bed.
We worked so hard but we never really got tired whilst there. Ok, we were tired but we didn't really mind it; everything was happening so fast but we were showered with love and gratitute non-stop that it didn't really matter. We carried heavy building materials, cleared and cleaned uninhabited rooms, painted the highest of halls, levelled the ground, fixed wooden doors but were constantly rewarded with smiles coming from the fellow builders and the parish priest. We helped in the kitchen, spent countless hours playing with the enthusiastic young ones and peeked in their dormotary and were surprised by the huge amount of love we received in return. It was so evident that I wasn't the one doing stuff for someone else whilst there; as I was working I just kept on receiving. And receiving. And then I received some more.
We were one great, motivated group of team mates and that worked in our favour, of course. We do probably come from completely different backgrounds and have different attributes and traits. However that made us even stronger, even more compatible than we thought it would. My team mates happen to be amazing; all the great stuff that happened to me whilst there is also thanks to them.
Life can be unjust, it can. We should be grateful for all the great stuff we're blessed with. Yet, we're so busy here, so distracted; we have everything but are still caught up in constant stupid arguments and selfish discussions. Intead of constantly counting our lucky stars, we waste our time pondering about silly-nothings, are territorial and find it hard to forget and forgive. In India, they too have their battles. A lot of them; they are constantly struggling. But they lead a much simpler life, it's so clear, you just feel it in the air. And whilst there I found myself questioning (more than once) who is, in reality, the lucky one? The happiest one of the two?
Will I return to India? Do I miss the children? I still shift uneasily each time someone asks me that; I somehow still cannot understand what I'm really feeling. At times I feel so broken, this is all so unfair. The first few days I returned home I was waking up literally thinking I was still in my room in India, and would shift back to sleep dreaming another day of being and playing with the children would follow. Only to then wake up realising it would be ages till I get the chance to perhaps see them again (if I get to be that lucky...).
The overall experience? So powerful! I just wish I got to experience voluntary and missionary work before; am so grateful I got to go to India, meet these stunning souls and give a helping hand!
Will I return to India? Oh YES! DEFINETELY. Like, can I go back NOW?! Please?
- Il-Progett in India: Six characters discover the heavens and hells of India whilst refurbishing an orphanage in Munugode, India.
Together, they learn the hard truth of poverty but also discover the beauty within. -