Most of our long-term volunteers (LTV) live with Indian families during their time here. Often times, we hear experiences and feedback from our volunteers. This is our first ever testimony from a host family. Mrs. Kavya M.S. has been hosting LTVs since 2012 and has welcome 11 since then. She is well known in her community for doing charity work. She was born in 1978 in the Coorg district of Karnataka. She has two daughters; Amrutha Nayak and Anitha Nayak. Following is an account of her experiences and memories with LTVs.
“What makes INDIA proud?
Democracy, cricket, films, etc …
Sure. But Indians are also well known for treating guests.
I would like to share my experiences as much as possible about such guests like international volunteers!!
Till now we have welcomed 11 volunteers to our host family since 2012.
1st volunteer: Claire from France
She was generous .She stayed with us for 3 months .When I was doing any work she always joined me .She did her project very successfully in Hunsur. She liked our culture and food. She wore our traditional dress; saree. She looked Indian. Before going she cried a lot, she offered many chocolate and gifts to us. Recently she married her beloved boyfriend Stephan and she sent a wedding card to us. I was so happy with her for 3 months. She is still in contact with us. She is the best of the best.
2nd volunteers: Anna and Rebecca from Germany
They were true friends and lenient. When they came to my home, I was not there. I was so tensed about them, but they are really good girls. They participated in all the festivals which we celebrated. They are good dancers also, because they danced when we celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi festival. They gave me a lot of German chocolates. Sometimes they came late during night time. I was never angry, I just treated them like my daughter and I guided them on how to be in India. Rebecca cried a lot when she left our home and she came back from the bus stand to say bye to my family. Anna went as an Indian girl. They were beautiful girls. My daughter had a nail polish craze. So Anna sent many colorful nail polishes from Germany and also letters and chocolates. I still remember my cat always went to her room and she slept in her bed. I think my cat misses her. Even my family also misses them.
3rd volunteers: Kara and Cornelia from Germany and Austria
They were gleaming girls. In Kannada kara means spicy, but Kara was very sweet with us. On the 13th of January, 2013 she came to my home. The 14th of January is Makara Sankranti festival. We went to the temple with Kara. On that day we were so happy. She started her project in Spoorthi Samsthe. She was a good teacher. She presented bangles and earrings to my daughter for her birthday. She was taking care of her mother. Her mother was sick. So she went to her country so early. And she took her mother to Kerala for Ayurvedic treatment. And also she came to my father’s house in Coorg. She liked my native place and she liked my farm house, a small pond, chirping birds, cows and small calf, hens, dog, cat etc. She took some photos with my father. My relatives were very happy.
Then about Cornelia (Conny) – She was always a happy and flawless girl. Sometimes she was angry with us. She was knowledgeable and knew how to communicate with people. She liked to travel every day. She lost my daughter’s bicycle and on that day, she cried. But I told her don’t worry about that. She visited my cousin’s marriage. She was teaching spoken English to students in Spoorthi Samsthe. She celebrated Mothers day with my daughters and Anju. She was a good dancer, singer and also a very good musician. When she got bored or happy, she used to play her guitar. Her favorite dish was tomato sambar with rice. We went to GRS Fantasy Park with her. When she left our home she cried, she hugged me in the bus stand. She misses me so much, and we miss her too.
Next was Karo and Male from Germany
They only stayed for a month. On her second day, Male went for a wedding function with my daughter to Hassan. Both wore red coloured t-shirts. She was surprised about the Kannada wedding food style. My daughter taught her how to eat the food. She liked our special sweet obbattu. They were silent and sweet girls.
Amanda Paseen and Pia Winter from Finland and Germany
What do I say about Amanda (Amppu). There are no words to describe her. She is a really, really good and beautiful girl. I didn’t know about Finland, but she explained everything about her country to me. She is also good dancer and musician. She loves our culture and traditional clothes. She purchased many sarees for herself. Amppu was the first girl who called me Amma. I was so happy. She learned Kannada perfectly. She was always listening Ashiqui 2 songs (Tun hi ho). Sometimes she told me, “Amma I’m always hungry”. It meant she liked our food style. She brought toys for our cat and dog. She looked like a Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone when she wore the saree. She presents Garnier shampoo and face wash to my daughter for Christmas. They celebrated Christmas in Goa. At exactly 12 o’clock she called to wish me a Happy New Year. I was so happy, even my friends hadn’t wished me. Her mother stayed for two days in my home. Her mom is also very active and interesting. I just miss her… I love you Amppu.
Pia, Ya! She is also a nice girl. She presented a doll and some toys to us before she left. We dropped her to the bus stand. She was nice!!
Camille and Jana from France and Germany
She was a motivated girl. She looked very beautiful and ideal. Travelling was the happiest journey for her. She didn’t like spicy food. So I tried to cook food which was not spicy. She was a contemporary dancer. Sometimes she taught me her dance. It is very interesting. She looks very thin. After her weekend she was sick. She was tired and had skin burns from the 50°C in Hampi. She also had a fever and low blood pressure. She had to be admitted in Columbia Asia Hospital. After three days, she was better and relaxed. When she was in the hospital, she texted me, “Thank you so much for everything you have done. You are a really good mum!!” When I saw the message I was very happy. She was the small child for me!
Everyone desires to be loved and also to have freedom, so I left them free in my home. All the volunteers are really good, sometimes they were angry with us, but it is okay, because they left their parents for a long time. Then I tried to be a good host mother to them. Some put nose rings as Indian girls do. I liked their destiny and determination – everyone succeeded at their projects. I really enjoyed my time with them and I learned a lot of things from them. My children got a lot of knowledge about other countries and how to communicate with others. All the volunteers are good and humble. All the best to volunteers and achieve your goal. God bless you. I miss them so much. Still I have contact with them. They send me letters. Then Jana, wow! She was a loyal girl. Such a nice and kind hearted girl she was. Every day she used to ask me “How was the day today?” She showed us her family photos. It is a really nice family. She lives in a joint family. There are 59 members in her family.
A small poem for volunteers!
I am the one you crushed
with the weight of custom and tradition
that light cannot be hidden in darkness.
Now, I’m successful as a good host mother. I’m really thankful to FSL-India to giving this good opportunity.