Belonging – first visit to India

Being the first time in India, my visit was nothing but an exceptional and rewarding experience. India is a country that is full of inspiring cultures and friendliness, especially at the rural side of the country where I enjoyed my time the most. Although pictures and videos from the United for Hope page on Facebook gave a portrayed image of the village, but being there in person gave me a whole different impression. After our visit to the village, I came to learn and form a new perception about life and the world. I’ve imagined life there to be as a beautiful, simple, and quiet village life. When we arrived to Tirmasahun, the first thing we started our tour with was a visit to the government school; the students were happy and full of life, despite all the difficulties that they face. I saw that what we think of, as accessories were essentials to them, and what we perceive as options could be there necessities. I never imagined that a child’s education could be stopped only because he/she has no socks and the barefoot can’t stand cold while coming to school in the morning. I didn’t think that some children can’t share their break time to eat with their friends, because there are not enough plates for all the students, and they have to eat in two rounds. We then visited some houses, and took a walk to know the village and its people. After the sunset, the whole place turned into complete darkness; we literally couldn’t walk a step without using our phones as a flashlight, it’s almost 05:30 PM, but life almost stopped there, and people went to their houses starting a fire to get warm and rest. With all these difficulties in their daily life, you feel overwhelmed by the smiles on their faces, their hospitality and warm welcomings. You can see that they don’t negatively accept these difficulties, but try to change it and help to improve the village and bring what is better for it. The village is going under a transformation phase, people are excited about it and they look forward for what is next, offering their help endlessly as much as they can. The water project, the community center, the electrification, all of these are on the way to them. I couldn’t be more excited about these utilities and the help it will provide to the people when its finally comes alive; I knew that this is what I want to do. People in the village shall not suffer the darkness at night, nor the hot dry weather in summer or the cold winter. Children should be able come to school everyday warm and safe. They should get a proper education that allows them to contribute to themselves, their families, and to the village. People should have access to clean and safe water, without the fear of catching a disease that threatens their lives. I’ve always believed that when people do charity, they get more than what they give. I consider myself lucky that I could see things more clearly; I look at life from a different perspective. I also have learned to fully appreciate what I have and share what I can, because shared things are harder to lose. More importantly, although it was my first time visiting the village, I didn’t feel to be a stranger, nor as a guest, I’ve gained brothers and friends.

Faisal, United for Hope


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