I am a simple volunteer at an Indian orphanage and this is a blog I am writing without any particular ambitions and without any other goal apart from the desire to share my experience with whoever might wish to do so. Ever since my first trip back in 2011 to the last one this Christmas, I have always felt the need to talk about it as much as possible only with whoever showed me some interest. I am well aware of the fact that I am not doing anything different or better than what millions of people from every country, nationality and social class already do on a daily basis around the world. We are indeed surrounded by beautiful people.
This is a simple diary in which I am collecting all of the greatest emotions and memories that have stuck with me over time. I am not going to get into any geographical or temporal detail, I will simply write down everything I feel and remember while I look back at the photographs. I can still recall the smells and there are sounds that only belong to India that sometimes I hear: I live off emotions experienced during my staying in the orphanage that I will try and translate into words, hoping to do a good job. I decided to collect all of my stories into a blog from the moment I realised what blogs actually were. Better late than never! And I am not worried of looking inexperienced, because I am.
When I come back from a trip to India I always need at least a week to process all the emotions and experiences that I lived during my staying at the orphanage. When I am back home, during the first nights, I often suddenly wake up not understanding where I am. It’s quite an unpleasant feeling that, luckily, doesn’t last long and ends when I am able to identify something that helps me realise I am in my own bedroom. Usually my saviour is the TV red power light. At that point my heartbeat slows down and I can reacquire the starting position, which is lying down with my head on the pillow making sure Ugo hasn’t realised anything. That’s the moment when I realise I am not at Daddy’s Home, that the next day I won’t be with my kids, but dealing with my everyday life and that some months will have to go by before I will be able to go back to them.
Scrolling through the photographs that were taken and re-experiencing through the images the past moments helps me understand things that in the moment they happen might seem incomprehensible. With time and physical detachment I am able to analyse moment after moment and understand. Because only by allocating every event to a rational contest gives me the strength to go back. Because if I paused and thought about some kids’ eyes that I’ve met, inside and outside the orphanage, or about the feeling of complete frustration that I experience every time I get to India, I would never go back. The eyes of some kids are empty. These kids have their past signed by histories of brutal psychological and physical violence. India is not the only country in which these things happen so frequently to the point of becoming every day habits that end up being ignored. However, India is the place I ended up five years ago, and it’s where I try and give that little I can give, going back every time I can. I don’t know if this is going to be forever, but I know that this is and now is where I want to stay.
Creating a blog to let all the world (maybe nobody is ever going to read it …) into my memories and thoughts is a way to tell my story to whoever might be interested in it. Who isn’t doesn’t access it and doesn’t read it. Too many times I have realised I was telling my story to people that were not interested in listening to me. Eyes don’t lie, the sad eyes of the Indian kids never lie but neither do those cold eyes of the person who doesn’t want to hear you. They are eyes full of unanswered questions such as “Why are you doing this?” This I cannot answer.
At first this is upsetting, then you realise that the majority of people doesn’t feel suitable enough to help those in need. Maybe it is true that in order to decide to do so, a little amount of self-conceit is necessary.
Being a volunteer should not be a reason to brag, just as much as being a volunteer should not be a justification of envy from those who decide not to be one.