Name: Gustav Lindskog and Malin Bonthron
Age: 19
Home country: Sweden
Duration: 2 weeks
Project location: Shiv
Volunteering work: Day care center, Non formal teaching (Snake Charmers) and painting classroom

 

During the summer of 2010 I and my girlfriend travelled to India. After some weeks in the southern parts of the big country we started to move north. While we travelled we started to think that it would be nice to do some volunteering. A friend of ours had told us that she knew a man called Manoj that had recently started a organization “United Friends of India” in Rajasthan. We contacted “United Friends of India” and asked if they had any work for us, and they replied - absolutely!

After some weeks of travel we finally reached Rajasthan and Shiv. When the bus stopped first we didn´t know that we were there but a smiling Indian man helped us and said that this is Shiv. The smiling man was no less then Manoj himself and from that moment we were under his caring wings. Manoj helped us with most things these weeks. If we needed water, extra food, material for the teaching, help with translating and so on Manoj was always there for us.

During our two weeks in Shiv we lived with a local family which Manoj knows for years. The family was very nice and the mother of the house made fantastic Indian food. None of the members talked English very good but that was no problem at all, we just filled in the gaps with smiles and gestures instead. We lived in a separated part of the house with our own bathroom so there where never any problems with getting some privacy.

Manoj was very open-minded with what we wanted to do. He gave us some alternatives and with his advice we made a plan. We worked every morning from 9am to lunch with teaching English and playing games at a daycare center. In the afternoon we either taught at a little village not far from Shiv or painted a classroom.

On the weekends we were free to do whatever we wanted. We wanted to go to Jaisalmer! In Jaisalmer we visited the famous fort and rode camels. Riding camels was one of funniest things we did on our trip, they are such funny animals! Except for the riding part we also got good food, local traditional dance and a night in a nice hut in the desert in our booked package.

As you might have figured out we really enjoyed our time in Rajasthan and we can totally recommend “United Friends of India” as an organization! Mind though that it´s really hot from June to September (during our stay it was around 40 degrees) so it might be wise not go there during that period if you are not that fond to heat.

Good luck with your Indian trip! /