Maria in India: "Varanasi has taught me to see the positive side of everything".
María Andrés is a social educator and last February she traveled to India to connect with a culture that until now was unknown. He wanted to take advantage of this journey to support the NGO we collaborate with in Varanasi, where training and work in a Fair Trade workshop are offered to low-caste women with few resources. Find out how their experience was 😊
It is the first time that you do international volunteering. Why did you decide to live an experience like this?
Yes, I had never experienced anything like it. I needed to get out of the routine and wanted to get to know another culture from within.
What do you think makes this NGO special? And the location in Varanasi? Tell us what motivates you most about the project and the place.
You say that very funny situations were created while volunteering, since sometimes you had to communicate by signs with the women, many of them do not speak English. What was the environment like in the project? Did you meet more volunteers?
I did not meet any other volunteers, just the Friday before I arrived a volunteer named Sara had left. It's incredible how they welcome you from the first moment and how they talk about and value the work of the volunteers there. Every day there they are involved in making you understand their culture and customs and they facilitate your integration into the project at all times.
Tell us about something you have learned or some reflection on approaching other ways of understanding life.
Varanasi has taught me to live with something that we see as far away as death and poverty. It has taught me to see the positive side of everything and to appreciate how much we have. In addition, seeing death so closely in their culture has taught me not to be a taboo subject and to lose fear of it.
Why was Tumaini important in encouraging you to take the leap? What would you say to someone who is thinking of doing a solidarity trip but has doubts?
Tumaini was solving all the doubts that arose and made me lose my fear of the unknown. It is the best experience I have had, thinking that I am going to help and feeling that I owe them more than what I have given them.