My name is Shoba, there are 4 people in my family – my husband Annappa, my 2 children Ashwath and Ashwith and myself. I work at Asha Karya Kartha, Gulvady. For the last 4 years, my family and I have been hosting volunteers from FSL-India. So far, we have hosted 12 volunteers from different countries.
My family and I have greatly benefited from this experience. I learnt to speak English and so did my children. The volunteers and my children enjoyed playing with each other. They cooked their country’s food for us, i.e. French crepes, French toast and some other dishes with strange sounding names. We appreciated their food and in turn, they appreciated all the food that I cooked for them: puris, chapathis, palya, goli bajis and other snacks. All the volunteers helped in the agricultural activities on our farmland like harvesting, making manure from cowdung, planting paddy and arecanut.
One of our most memorable volunteers was David from Germany. He taught my children how to play football and helped them with their English studies and Maths. One day, he was sitting alone with a sad face. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he was remembering his family and missing them. I told him that we are his family now, and from that day onwards, he started calling me Akka (sister). Later on, his family came and visited us. They wore Indian clothes and attended a traditional function along with our family.
My family and I learnt about our guests’ culture and they learnt about Indian culture in our family. The volunteers celebrated Christmas in our house and even after going back to their country they still send Christmas gifts for my family. We are very grateful to the volunteers who stayed with us and we thank FSL-India for giving us this wonderful opportunity to get to know people from other countries and learn about their cultures.