I have just returned home after an unsurpassable two month trip in India where I travelled through many places including beautiful Rajahstan, freezing (albeit beautiful) Darjeeling, bustling Delhi, and balmy Goa. I wrapped up my two month adventure with ten days volunteering with Rainbow Voluntours in Fort Kochi. Thinking myself a bit of an ‘œIndian expert’ by this point, I was shocked when I arrived to a quiet (by Indian standards) town with all the appeal of a European city, but with the classic Indian ‘organised chaos’ still ever present. It was love at first sight.
Each morning I would wake at 6.30am to go to a two hour yoga class. The class was actually from 7.30 until 10, but the yoga master Sajee had me coming early each day as I had to leave at 9 in order to make it to school on time. By the end of my time in Kochi, going to yoga every morning bar two (sometimes you just can’t wake up!) I was an extrodannaire (not really but I felt like it). Returning to my home stay at 9, a freshly cooked, hot breakfast would be waiting for me. Breakfast varied day-to-day, as did dinner, and I got the joy of trying a variety of traditional Keralan dishes, including my favourite, dosas!
Each school day we would work at two schools, in the morning MASS, and in the afternoon GHS, with a rickshaw driving us between the two. At MASS we helped some struggling kids work on the curriculum, while at GHS we taught after school english classes. Fridays were reserved for arts and crafts or sport, and whilst I was there we did drawing and yoga.
On my extended lunch break (3 hours!) we would head to one of Kochi’s many fantastic eateries. Oy’s, Kashi Art CafÃ©, Pepper House and Ginger were my favourites, all serving up fantastic fusion cuisine.
The two weekends I spent in Kochi were also highlights of my trip. In fact, my first day in Kochi I was sent off on a boat tour in the Kumarakom Backwaters, one of the most photogenic places I have ever been. I was lucky enough to be in Kochi whilst the Kochi-Muziris Biennale was on, and spent my last Sunday in India seeing one of the best modern art exhibits of my life! My Saturday was much balmier in comparison, spending the day lazing by a resort pool (Spice Harbour ‘“ fantastic!).
My day-long journey back to Australia from Kochi was quite anti-climatic, however, my last week in India was by far one of the best weeks of my life! Counting down the days until I can return back to ‘œGod’s Own Country’!
To apply to this program you can register online via www.rainbowvoluntours.com/volunteer-tours