New Years Day was the best I have ever had. At around 4am were awoken by loud music. It was the start of the celebrations and homes all around were starting the day with prayers and songs. Once that stopped our room was stormed by the children wishing us a happy new year. It was quite obvious that we were not going to get any sleep :-).
We jumped out of bed and were called up to the roof terrace. There we watched the sunrise. It was simply awesome. The mood was alittle somber, the children had started to ask if we were really leaving today, they were visibly upset. After breakfast I joined a few of kids downstairs and we watched an episode of "Lost" on my laptop.
Monica and I then started packing; we were ready for our one and half hour drive to Ranchi's Birsa Mundan Airport. All the staff and children had gathered at the front of the building to see us off. There were many last minute photos to take which seem to take forever as some of the kids were crying and needed consoling. "We will be back at the end of the year, and this time it will be for alot longer" we told them, those words didn’t really help much. The children had got used to visitors that they got attached to never returning. It was awful having to get into the car to leave while the kids were upset. I promised them I would send them copies of all the photos I had taken during my visit, something in the region of 700 pics, and countless hours of video.
We hated to leave and would have done anything to have stayed longer. How I wish I was like Barbara. She was a new volunteer that had sold simply everything she had in the UK. She often said everything she has in the world is in her room. She is staying out in India for at least 2years. Two weeks was simply not enough time to do much of what we wanted.
The trip to the airport was not enjoyable at all. I knew we would miss everything about the place, the good and the bad. It was very hard saying goodbye to everyone. We felt as though so much was missing when we arrived in Delhi that evening. We felt even worse when got back to the UK. For the cynics it was not the "holiday blues", we were never on a holiday, we just missed the work, people and life.
This trip has put my life in the UK into perspective. Like many people I have been looking for that something in my life but could never find it. I have always thought it was something material, a better home or job. When I got those things it was never enough. This time I think I have found it or I am at least on the right road and in the right place. My trip to India has changed my life forever; I feel it inside and out. What possibly could a place without any of the comforts we are used have to offer? I don’t think that I could genuinely answer that yet, but whatever it is I felt it. There were times I found myself saying I could do this work forever. I have never said that about anything else, nothing has ever come close. It’s a chance to make a real difference in this world. I have never wanted to just marry, have kids, live the rat race and then die. It’s not enough for me and I know it is not enough for many people.
I have experienced many things over these 2 weeks and I am still piecing it together in my head, I know one thing that I am going to be part of this project for the rest of my life and cannot recommend this experience enough to others.