I’m back in Germany. In our last quarterly report, we were given the task of answering the following seven questions before we got started with the report. After being gripped by a writing-flow, answering these seven questions became my last quarterly report.
Enjoy reading it! It was a great time in India, an experience I never want to miss!
Name: Rick-Marcel Dohlich
- An welchen Seminaren (Vorbereitungs-/ Einführungs- und Zwischenseminare) hast du teilgenommen? Wie lange haben sie jeweils gedauert und welche Erfahrungen hast du dabei gemacht.
I attended all seminars (2 Preparation seminars and 2 Intermediate seminar). Each Preparation seminar lasted for approx. a week. Each intermediate seminar lasted for two days.
The experiences that I have made are very diverse.
What particularly influenced me were topics on conflict resolution (at the intermediate seminar), answering the question of how to continue after the year with the help of visual representation, and the playful approach to rather serious topics (for example, with the help of acting). I had always a very good experience during the seminars and felt in good company with the other volunteer but also facilitators.
- Bitte beschreibe, welche Informationen zum Thema Sicherheit dir geholfen haben und welche du dir eventuell zusätzlich gewünscht hättest. Wusstest du immer, an wen du dich in Notfällen oder bei persönlichen Krisen wenden kannst?
In terms of safety, I would have liked a more intensive self-defence course. Yes, I knew who I could call when an emergency occurred.
- Bitte beschreibe, welche Informationen zum Thema Gesundheit dir geholfen haben und welche du dir eventuell zusätzlich gewünscht hättest. Wusstest du, an wen du dich im Krankheitsfall wenden kannst?
That before I eat something, I wash, peel, and cook the fruit or vegetable. This has helped me a lot. And also, that I can go to the Healtcenter when I don’t feel well. Regarding health, I was well informed and did not need any more information. Yes, I knew who I could call, in case of illness.
- Hattest du eine persönliche Ansprechperson/MentorIn außerhalb deiner Einsatzstelle? War die Person für Dich gut erreichbar? Welche Erfahrungen hast du mit ihr gemacht?
Yes, each of them were always available, when I needed them.
My experience was, that when I came to Auroville, Gabi & Andy gave me a new pillow, because the pillow in MDJ was full of fungus. They took care of me. When I arrived Karin gave me some cloth, which I could use as a bedsheet, because in MDJ there is nothing like that. Jürgen helped me by finding a room for my friend, who visited me for two week.
- Bitte beschreibe deine Erfahrungen mit dem Erlangen eines Visums/einer Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. Gab es Probleme damit? Wenn ja, welche und wie konnten sie gelöst werden?
My problem was that the visa office (Frankfurt) did not communicate with me. The visa was already issued, but the visa office did not tell me. For over a week I remained in ignorance.
I had to call several times after the people. The information I received was not useful. After my own research, I got the phone number of the Indian consulate and spoke to a woman who had something to say. She told me that the visa had been issued for two weeks and that I should contact the visa office, which I had already done in the past and the visa office told me, my Visa is pending at the consulate. They shifted the responsibility back and forth. This whole procedure was psychologically destroying me. I got scared and was unsure if I would ever get to Auroville. At the end, I got my Visa, but I have the feeling, if I would not have had taken it into my own hands, I would still be waiting for the visa.
My conclusion is that the visa office screwed up something and wanted to hide it. The consulate is doing a good job, but the visa office is not trustworthy and not able to communicate. Furthermore, the online query regarding the visa status is pure garbage.
- Bitte beschreibe deine Hauptaufgaben am Einsatzplatz und wie du dafür mit den MitarbeiterInnen der Einsatzstelle zusammengearbeitet hast.
I didn’t have one main task. I did many different things and always helped where I was needed. But, I spent most of my time working with a colleague to design and eventually implement a plan for a rainwater harvesting program in a village in the Kalaryan Hills (KH). We sat down in meetings and discussed possible solutions, we divided our tasks, and went several times to KH to observe and talk with the people. While our plan was being implemented, the year unfortunately passed, and I had to return to Germany.
- Bitte beschreibe, welche Lernerfahrungen du bislang zu entwicklungspolitischen Fragestellungen wie z.B. den Themen Globale Gerechtigkeit und Nachhaltigkeit gemacht hast.
Okay, real talk now:
What we do doesn’t so much help India or Auroville as it helps ourselves.
A developmental volunteer service is an opportunity to develop yourself, to get to know yourself better and to be exposed to challenges that you would never have in Germany. You get to know the culture and people with different points of view. You learn to manage your everyday life independently. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, you will discover completely new sides of yourself.
What you get after a year of living in a developing country is the awareness that the world out there is different than how we experience it here in Germany. There is poverty, there is social injustice, there are mega corporations that cut down trees for profit, etc. But just watching a documentary or listening to someone give a presentation about it never expands your awareness like living in a another country for an extended period of time.
When I was back in Germany and went to the supermarket for the first time, I realized for the first time in my 29 years what kind of prosperity and abundance we live in. The thousands and thousands of goods offered in ONE supermarket is so natural for us. But do we need all of this stuff? Do we need ten different types of peanut butter, chips and wine? I just feel now diconnected to my home. But in a good way. I question more!
Another thing we get after a year, later when we start in a job, the experience and knowledge you gain just by living in another country helps us to make rational decisions based on an emphatic foundation. I think that allows us to formulate approaches to solutions that are more creative and inclusive of more people easier.
I also learned that I am very grateful to have grown up in Germany. After talking to a wide variety of people, I have found that something like the ‚weltwärts‘ program is unique. We are lucky to get the opportunity and the support (mentally as well as financially) to spend a whole year in India/Auroville. We are not left on our own, which helps us to make our daily life a bit more carefree.
What makes the developmental volunteer service so special is not the work you do, but rather the exchange you have with people from other countries as well as with yourself. It is a unique experience that, in my opinion, every young person must have had once in their life.
I could write more, but I feel like I should close this chapter and focus on what is present right now!
Muna, Nora, Georg, Birgitt, Isa, Thomas, Gabi, Karin, Andy, Jürgen, Luise, and also the BMZ, my deepest gratitude goes to you for making this program possible, investing your heart and soul in it, and keeping the nerves.
My thanks also go to Jonas, Jasper, Sahra, Hanna, Malina, Romi, Olivia, Luise, Lucy, Emilia, Basti, Valerie, Lee, for being a super relaxed, happy bunch of beautiful people.
Also thank you Max, Frederick, Katharina and my parents who donated money to make this year possible.
Last but not least, thank you to Era, who I met in India and who showed me a world I had never seen before her. The love to you will always stay in my heart.
That’s it, I am out, have fun boys & girls!