From: Louise Dunne <email@example.com>
Date: Friday, 23 April, 2010, 8:21 PM
I have just finished two weeks volunteering at the Mandore School Project and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I was collected from the airport and taken to Surendra’s office in Jodhpur to meet Surendra. He was so welcoming and explained what he hoped I would be doing in the following fortnight. I felt instantly very comfortable with Surendra and consequently became even more excited by what the next two weeks were going to involve. I was then taken to Mandore Guest House where I was showed to what would be my room for the next fortnight and I loved it!! Lots of space, a very clean bedroom and bathroom set in a beautiful idyllic garden with lots of friendly people around the place.
Due to the weather (it was between 40 – 45 degrees) school started at 8.30am and finished by 12 noon. I would get up at 7.15am to get ready for school and have half an hour to eat a leisurely breakfast of fruit, toast, pancakes and tea with Anu who would insist on preparing everything for me!! Plenty to last me until lunch J The drive to school would take about half an hour as it was 10 km outside of Mandore in the rural part of Jodhpur. Sanjay, Surendra’s son, accompanied me to school to help with teaching and to translate during my classes. He was a fantastic support and I appreciated having someone there to teach me about the culture and way of life of the village.
The children were an absolute delight. They were so excited to have a new teacher/volunteer at the school. I designed several worksheets that we spent time completing together. We covered areas such as basic conversation, the weather, shapes, body parts, the time, musical instruments, colours, fruits, animals and many other topics.
I spent most of my time with the older children who were aged between 9 and 14 years but for 3 days these classes had exams so I spent time with the younger children who were aged between 4 and 8 years. Here I taught the alphabet, numbers (counting to 100) and I was also taught to count to ten in Hindi!! The children did much better than I did!!!
As well as using small tests I would put together and then photocopy for each child, I played games such as bingo using all the different colours the children had learnt or the different types of weather. There was a lot of picture drawing and labeling, for example, the children were asked to draw a body and then label the different parts. We also sang songs such as ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and rhymes such as ‘twinkle twinkle little star’.
The Government provides a meal per day for the students so at 9.30am each morning all the children would sit together and eat chapatti and Dahl or some rice. I had the opportunity to help distribute the food with the older children which was good fun.
As well as having a fantastic time at the school, Sanjay also took me around the village to meet some of the families and to witness first hand the different traditions of the village. We sat with a family and had some tasty chai before heading back to school to begin the first morning’s lessons.
The teachers were very friendly and so grateful to me for spending some time at their school but in the end it was me who was thanking them for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience at their school. I was fortunate enough to have both a welcoming and leaving ceremony with the teachers and all the children and I was very sad to say goodbye after the two weeks was up.
It is difficult for me to put across in words how much I have enjoyed this experience but what I can say is that if you are considering volunteering for even a short period of time it is makes a huge difference to the children of Mandore and believe me you will end up not wanting to leave.