1st of January. Last day as a volunteer. Thinking back to the numerous experiences I lived the last 4 months give me the sensations I was travelling since years. Many people saying time went so fast. I do not have this feeling when I try to remember a few sensations I felt … actually so many are coming up. After Africa, about which I already wrote quite some and which always remained my favorite place, we spent quite some time in south east Asia. I crossed the lives of a few persons sharing deep feelings but the overall experience with people cannot be compared to the one I felt in Tanzania.
On the other hand I had the chance to volunteer in two orphanages: In Thailand and in Vietnam. Both of them remain deep in my memories. I had very deep experiences with these children. I did my best to bring them all what I could but remembering at these times I have the feeling they brought me much more than I did.
Calcutta is again a fully different place compared to all the previous ones. I feel deeper relations with people compared to the experiences in south east Asia but at the same time I feel constantly overloaded because of the high poverty which is in all corners. Even the dogs here are struggling I saw many ill and some even dying.
The houses of Mother Teresa I visited bring a lot to these people who have a chance to get into one. However from a statistical point of view they have certainly more a political influence showing how much still needs to be done than a real help on the overall poor people. For example Kalighat, the place where many people come to die can take care around 100 people (men and women). Outside the house, even around the house of Mother Teresa, many old people are sleeping in the street. Some of them having dogs to get some warm, others only a very thin blanket. There are so many everywhere, children, mothers, handicapped people. They all struggle. Face to so many people suffering, I had the feeling I was not the right person to help here. Many volunteers come on a regular basis: one to several weeks every year. Some even more. They do a great job and I think when one is christian he can live his faith more intensively in such a place.
On my side I am (no more) catholic. Hence I feel even more disconnected from the volunteers. I tried to help in other structures than the houses of the sisters. I tried to teach some mathematics or english. However again I feel the need is so huge I do not know really what is the best thing to do, how to start. I realize I feel more useful in already developed countries like Thailand or Vietnam than here. Maybe another problem is that here poor people tend to accept their state in a more deeper way than the other cultures I was confronted so far.
At the same time indian government was about to close new law sessions where children work should have been banished to be replaced by a strong education politics. I consider this is the absolute UNIQUE solution to the problem of poverty. Unfortunately politics sat in comfortable sits, eating delicious dishes and fighting for their own ego seem to be rather interested in some short term economical advantages leaving the children fighting against dogs and raven in the rubbish for many generations:
This last experience in Calcutta increased my feeling of selfishness, showing me what people need here is beyond what I can give. At the same time accepting this as a fact gave me the sensation I was learning and discovering many new aspects on myself which would change my daily life when I am back to Europe’s normal life.
On the 2nd I will leave for a 10 days meditation course named Vipassana. This day I had an appointment with other italians at 1:00PM as others leave too on the 2nd. I met only Federica as Enrico was stuck in Kalighat serving families and children with food as a new year present. In the afternoon I went to Maidan close to the Victoria Monument. There was a queue of more than 200 meters: Indians waiting to enter the park. As a non Indian usually one can go and skip the queue … however I do not like doing this. Later I joined New Light for the last time. There as well music was loud and they were preparing dishes for people around. Looks like here New Year is seen as Christmas in Western countries …. I did not stay very long. There I met a very nice Canadian lady who previously traveled in Kenya and suffering as I did from the change of culture: in Africa one feels in a new family whereas in India people are quite closed to strangers.
In the evening I went to the Spanish’s Cafe to call Nino and my parents. There I met Enrico and Federica. It was nice: we could say good bye…