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"When you go to help, you can only bring out the beauty of life"

"When you go to help, you can only bring out the beauty of life"

Laia in one of the temples that she visited with the rest of the volunteers.

Laia Crestemayer had always dreamed of getting to know India but when she saw that, in addition to traveling, she could volunteer there, he jumped “headfirst into it”. For several weeks, he immersed himself in Tibetan culture in McLeod Ganj and collaborated on a solidarity nursery and giving english classes to Tibetan refugees. But one of the best things about his trip was the people you met on the project: “in a short time we formed a small family”, he explains.

Why did you decide to volunteer for several weeks? Why India?

I love traveling and helping people, so if I could mix both, the experience already had everything I needed. I had talked to people who had participated in similar projects and they all agreed that it was an unbeatable experience. So I started to investigate. When I found Tumaini, I immediately fell in love with McLeod Ganj's project. Going to India had always been a dream for me and when I saw that I had the opportunity to fulfill it, I jumped headlong into it!

What caught your attention the most about the place as soon as you arrived?

Its multiculturalism. Many volunteers of different nationalities lived in the project. That seemed nice to me, because it makes the exchange with native people and with people from other countries much richer. The good vibes that was breathed there have made it very hard for me to leave. It really shouldn't surprise me that there was that so warm and cozy atmosphereBecause when you go to help, you can only learn and get the beauty out of life.

Near the project, Laia was able to do several excursions. 

Is there a story of a boy or girl from the nursery that marked you in particular? 

There was a boy who had stolen my heart. His name is Namchoe and he always had a smile for all the people around him. We always had to give him food, because if we left him alone he would turn into a Christ! Of course, not even with food everywhere did he lose his smile. I taught him to stick out his tongue and since then he always greeted me like that, as if it were some kind of secret greeting between us.

Being with all the boys and girls had its charm, especially after a week working there. When they began to get used to your presence, they included you in their games, they hugged you... I was dying of love.

Did you also collaborate in English classes for Tibetan refugees? As was?

Enriching while hard. When the Tibetans told their stories, our hair stood on end. They have had very, very hard lives. They are very strong people. One of them told us that while he was trying to escape with a friend and two guides, Chinese soldiers surprised them and killed his friend and one of the guides. He was miraculously saved.

Another refugee told us that when he ran away, he spent a month trekking in the Himalayas. There were days when all he ate was snow. As much context of the Tibet-China conflict as you have, have them there in front, hear their stories beyond what one can imagine.

Laia shared her solidarity trip with Clara and has discovered a good friend.

How was it sharing the trip with your friend Clara?

Very good! Clara and I had known each other for a long time but we had never spent so much time together. Living with her has been easy. I have found a good friend. I would repeat delighted!

What was it like meeting other Tumaini volunteers?

That was the best part of the trip. Clara and I were alone for a week and we discovered the place. But when the others began to arrive, the real journey began. We coincided with Fatima, Isa, Dani and Santi. From the beginning there was an impressive good vibe between all of us and we did many things together: eat, excursions like the Masroor Temple, Dharamkot... In a short time we became a small great family.

There was a very good connection between the volunteers. They formed a small family.

Would you do a solidarity trip again?

Yeah! It has been a precious experience. Being able to help people and get to know another culture is priceless. It has made me grow as a person.

Would you recommend this experience to other people?

I would recommend it to everyone. It is a unique experience and it's so worth it. It forces you to open your mind and see the world with new eyes.

Impressive photo of Laia in one of the temples in the area.

* Laia collaborated with the projects in India Solidarity trip with Tibetan babies and Volunteer travel with Tibetan refugees in July 2017. 

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