from Rebecca Brosi Project: Aikiyam School
It’s hard to believe that this is already the second report-which means that my year in India is already half over. Since the last report only three months have passed but so many things have happened and changed.
To start with myself: I am still very fine and more than happy to have the chance to be here. During the Christmas holidays my parents came to see me and we enjoyed some time together travelling through Tamil Nadu and Karnataka all the way west to Goa. Seeing my family here in India and showing them my Indian everyday life made me realize that I feel very much at home in my project, in Kuilapalayam/ Auroville. Life in India seems so familiar to me after this period of time. Thinking about me abandoning all these wonderful people and especially the lovely schoolchildren in August makes me cry even if I tell myself that there is still plenty of time left.
At my working place, the Aikiyam School things are going well. During the last two months there have been many ups and downs. First of all in January there have been many adult volunteers from the United States and from Great Britain and one of the ladies came to my class to take over some lessons. On the one hand, it was interesting for me getting to know other teaching methods and observing the lesson on the other hand, I felt somehow replaced especially because she taught grammar lessons which I had given before…. During these weeks I saw my class only one hour a day which made me very sad. The five remaining hours I did some preparation and correction work. Very soon I started to look for new tasks: I decided to help Mala, the classteacher from second standard with the social science lessons and I began to assist at the “Play of painting” studio with the kindergarden children. I think it would have made more sense to put only one volunteer in each class. All things considered I adapted very well to this new situation. Nevertheless, I am very glad to have my everyday schedule back again.
The last weeks at school have been very exhausting for the second and third standard teachers: We have been working day and night on our project work about “Polar regions”. We had a great time exploring the Arctic and the Antarctic together with the childrenthrough reading, drawing, giving speeches…. But at the end of every project a presentation beckons for the whole class which puts a lot of pressure and stress on the teachers. During the last preparations I really had the feeling that it is more like a competition than a normal presentation. The Kids had to be perfectly trained in all different things like dancing, singing, acting, reading etc.
I have been working on a drama with twenty kids- many of them were struggling to read or talk in English and they had lots of difficulties memorizing small extracts. Together with them we invented a story and I wrote the script. Then we have been practicing eight days nonstop. It was really hard and I am so glad that it is over now. We just had our presentation and all the kids did a great job. I am really proud of them! It felt so good when the curtain closed and everyone clapped! We received very positive feedback and many people came to our classroom to see the exhibition about the polar region. All the teachers seemed so relieved and happy. In the afternoon I opened a package with artificial snow and the kids had so much fun forming snowballs and looking at the tiny crystals. Later we teachers bought some ice cream for them and so we enjoyed together our free afternoon on the playground. All in all, I think a project work is a very nice idea but for the next years I would suggest a more relevant topic to work on. The kids were struggling a lot with the polar region because it is so far away and really hard to imagine.
The cooperation with my teacher Selvaraj is pretty good right now and we are working in harmony and having good preparation hours together. He shares many things about the Indian culture and life with me. Furthermore I feel very respected and seen as a teacher, colleague and friend. Working with the kids still makes me glad and on weekends I am always looking forward to seeing them again on Monday. All the love and attention they give are such a great gift to me and when I come home in the evening I feel joy and satisfaction.
The last few weeks I was invited to several functions which provided me with a deeper insight in the Indian culture. I have been to one love marriage and one arranged marriage and to a girl’s period function.
On the one hand, the love marriage showed me that India is becoming a westernized and quickly developing country. On the other hand, I could see that many women are still caught up in traditions like arranged marriages or having to tell “the whole world” about their first menstrual period.
Furthermore, I realized how privileged I am to have been born, raised and educated in the western world. Above all, I learn to appreciate the independence and the opportunities I have as a western woman. It is fascinating and challenging to get to know more about a different culture in all its customs, habits and values.
All these thoughts bring me to the point where I find myself right now. I am looking for different study programs and I already started to apply at several universities. I actually want to study medicine but through my time in India and through all these different experiences I get more ideas what else I could do in my future. I feel much more open and free than in Germany and so I am just waiting to find the right decision.
Next week my brother Lucas and his girlfriend are coming to visit me and I am so excited to spend some time with them. I am also very curious to see whether Lucas, who also spent a year with “weltwaerts“ in Auroville working in Thamarai , sees any changes in Auroville and India during the last three years and how he reacts seeing his little sister getting more and more grown up independent through her experiences in the foreign country.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that I appreciate having the chance to be in Auroville and making all these wonderful experiences. I either enjoy working in my project or spending my free time with the other volunteers attending sport lessons or cooking together. I also feel very involved in the Indian life as I get in touch with it through my kind neighbours or my working colleagues.
For me it is shocking to see how time flies by. Nevertheless, I see that during this year there is a good cultural exchange in giving and taking. In May I will go on a journey with students from seventh and eighth standard. I am so excited to explore the north of India together with them! I am looking forward to the next six months here in India and I am sure it will be a great and memorable time.