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Halbzeitsbericht Janika

WW Report March 2013

Janika Heitmann

India – Six Month Report

It‘s unbelievable that half of my time in India is already over. The past six month went by so so fast. And now there are only 5 more month left in India. But on the other hand, there are a couple of things I am really looking forward to when I am back in Germany. For example some people I can’t wait to spend time with again. But right now I want to enjoy the time I still have here in India.

After our arriving in India it did not take long to feel comfortable here. Sure, there were a lot of new things but i enjoyed getting to know them. The same with my project. From the very first day I felt a lot of acceptance and respect from the children and especially from the team. It was a good feeling to know that I will work with them for one year. My first impression turned out to be right. I still enjoy working with the whole team and most of the time I also feel comfortable and welcome to express my ideas and thoughts about our work, although there is that big difference between the cultures. I also have the feeling that they are open for new things and that they are conscious about the cultural differences. Besides that, I also got the feeling that they are interested in what I can bring into the team and what they might be able to learn from me. To sum it up, they really give me the comforting feeling to work on my own.

In my individual work with four of the children I feel good most of the time and also confident about what I am doing now. But it was different when I started working with them. Due to the reason that there is no team member, that works in my profession and that has work experience, which I didn’t have, I didn’t know what to do with the children when I started working with them. I didn’t know anyone I could ask for advice. So after some classes I asked myself if what I did was useful or not. But I realised quickly, that I have to get to know the children first of all, before I can even tell, what’s useful and what isn’t. So I just continued working with them and my ideas came almost automatically after spending some time with them. It was a great feeling. Now it feels great to be together with them and I think they’re enjoying the time they spend with me.

WW Report Janika Heitmann March 2013

The most difficult thing or the fact which brings some difficulties or a lack of understanding is the cultural difference and of course the language. Sometimes I might think “Now I know the main structure of the culture and how it works in daily life” but the next second I get to know new things and I realise that I really don’t know everything about their lives. But although it makes some things more difficult or even impossible I like to learn more and more about being an Indian child, teenager or adult in South India. For me it’s really amazing how different a human life can be and I couldn’t image this before coming to India. It made me think a lot about my own life in the western world and I started realising that both cultures have their pros and cons. I hope when I come back to Germany I will remember both, pros and cons of the Indian culture. And I also hope I can take the pros to my daily life back in Europe.

Besides working, I also enjoy being in India. I started with a lot of different types of sport when I came to Auroville and I still enjoy practising. I realised that my body really needs more attention than I let it have before. It’s a good feeling for me to see how I make progress. This is also something I wish not to forget when I am coming back. Now I know, although you may think you have no time for exercise, you just have to take the time because then you feel better in your daily life and you have more energy for other things as well. Actually I knew this before, but because of the fact that I actually feel it now, it seems more

real. One thing which is difficult for me is the contrast between Auroville and the villages around (India). For me it feels like Auroville does not belong to India because it’s so different. Sometimes it feels like moving between two different countries within a second. This is kind of strange to me. Although it sometimes feels irritating, I’m happy to have both sides at almost one place. I think the key is to always be aware of where you are, inside or outside Auroville. It’s a little bit like living two lives at the same time – which is actually a good experience.

For the rest of my time here I’m looking forward to see more from India. I will travel to the north in a few weeks and I’m really looking forward to get to know more about this huge country. Concerning the work with the children I hope I can make progress with them and that we will have a lot of fun together in the next months.

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