I’ve spent 10 days in Virdhunagar and have mixed feelings about the whole ordeal. The teachers I’ve met at the school are very sweet and kind. They have really left an impact on me. But being a foreigner sometimes just means money and I’ve been put in some awkward situations regarding the subject that has added a sour note. Being immersed in a real town atmosphere made me feel more strange at times than comfortable due to the stares and simple minded thinking of the people here. Then again, this was a real learning experience into the livelihoods of everyday Tamilians in India.
the outskirts of Virdhunagar
Along with teaching I was also able to visit some of the members that the charity I’m working with is assisting by providing them funds to start their own at-home business. They are mostly women who are housewives and are trying to make some money by building matchboxes and making incense. Visiting their homes was interesting especially to see first hand how small and inconvenient their living space was, yet they seem content. All the people I met had no idea where Canada was and were flabbergasted at the fact that I took a plane to India.
It’s appalling to see how little people still know in this time. Most of them have never come across a foreigner, especially the children so they are very interested and try to speak in the little English they know.
I also had the opportunity to visit the nearby village area by Virdhunagar with the teachers as they were soliciting to find new admissions. The village life seems quiet yet serene. The houses are a bit bigger than in the town and the people seem friendlier. The roads are easier to walk in and are filled with animals such as goats and chickens.
I’m really glad that I did come to Virdhunagar because I would not have had the opportunity to see and learn what I have here anywhere else. It’s surreal to know how different the perspective of the world is from here, and how the people here live their life. The kindness I have endured here has made me proud to be Tamil.