Monday, November 12, 2012

My Diwali Celebration in India

Hi. I am Mike from France. I would to share some of my moments in India doing volunteering with Diwali Fun.

I have been very lucky that i have choose to volunteer at the diwali time. I am doing women empowerment project in Jaipur. I really excited in doing volunteering here in India. I would share you about my time and diwali celebration. Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It honors the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. It also marks the start of winter. Diwali is actually celebrated in honor of Lord Ram and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom of Ayodhya, following Rama and monkey God Hanuman defeat the demon King Ravana and rescue of Sita from his evil clutches (celebrated on Dushera).

People also clean and decorate their homes with Rangoli (Hindu folk art), buy new clothes, gamble, and give each other gifts and sweets during the festival.The Goddess Laxshmi is believed to have been created from the churning of the ocean on the main Diwali day, and that she'll visit every home during the Diwali period, bringing with her prosperity and good fortune. It’s said that she visits the cleanest houses first, therefore people make sure their houses are spotless before lighting lamps to invite her in. Small statues of the Goddess are also worshiped in people’s homes.The candlelight makes Diwali a very warm and atmospheric festival, and it's observed with much joy and happiness. However, be prepared for lots of loud noise from the fireworks and firecrackers going off. The air also becomes filled with smoke from the firecrackers, which can add to breathing difficulties.

About my volunteering work- I work everyday in one of VWI women empowerment center. WHere we teach basic english and mathematics to women which lives in rural and slum area in Jaipur. We do also work for generate income source for them. In this we teach them heena painting, stiching work and craft designing. By this the women can have job and also work home. As this is one of the main income sources for the women which lives in vilage. I really hapy to spend my time in indian host family. The host family is very lovely. I learn so many things here by living with them about their culture and tradtions.

Wish to come back soon!
Thank you VWI for making my placement to volunteer in india. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How To Travel In India - Part 1

Ah India, what an incredibly diverse land you are. Confronting, outstanding, frustrating and exotic, travel here may not always be the most straight forward of tasks but persevere with this most enchanting of countries and you will have adventures that will remain with you for a long time to come. Over the next couple of weeks, I’d like to share my experiences of exploring this magnificent part of Asia; I may not yet have covered even a quarter of this vast place, but what I lack in geography, I more than make up for in enthusiasm!
It’s important to remember that India is not just a country, it’s a sub-continent, with climates and terrain about as varied as any country can get. Mention India to anyone and it’s likely they’ll conjure up images of camels, deserts and temples; sure there’s no shortage of these iconic symbols but India really is so much more than that. There are beautiful beaches in Goa, lush jungles in Assam and don’t forget about the colder climates – after all a significant part of the Himalayas are in India! So from snow to sunshine, mountains to monsoons, India really does have it all.
This array of environments means it’s very important to time your trip to India depending on what you want. It’s all very well wanting to chill out on a Keralan beach paradise for 2 weeks but go in June and you may well be reaching more for your umbrella than for your bikini. Likewise the mountain ranges of Himachal Pradesh offer some excellent trekking opportunities but in December and January some routes may be closed due to snowfall. India generally has 3 main seasons; hot (April to June), wet (June to September) and cool (October to March). However these seasons can vary depending on the area of the country and proximity to the equator. It’s also important to remember cool in India can still mean temperatures of over 20 degrees!
VWI’s projects are all in the Rajasthani city of Jaipur, where the weather generally follows the pattern mentioned above. So depending on how well you can handle the heat, chose the time of year you travel carefully! Sun cream, a hat and conservative clothing are advisable all year round as even in the winter the Indian sun can be very strong but a waterproof jacket is an absolute necessity during the monsoon period. Likewise the mornings and evenings can be rather chilly in December and January so warm clothing is certainly required. The below link is a good guide to Jaipur climates;
However, like anywhere in the world, the weather doesn’t always stick to the rules so the most important tool to pack is a flexible attitude! Do get in touch if you want any more information about any of VWI’s projects and we’ll always be happy to help. Until next time.....
Jenn x