In the country of extrems: India, a personal and cultural enrichment

Graduation is a period of transition in life where we do not have personal commitment, nor familial constraints yet. It is the ideal moment to go backpacking and discover another country, another culture.

We finally went to India for 6 months, my cousin Nathalie who is a nurse and I. We met there Father Ceyrac who made us discover this great country through the numerous humanitarian projects he is leading.

Through a humanitarian farm, we discovered banks delivering micro-credits, savings by the employer, small concepts allowing many families to survive. Around this farm, we discovered poor rural India, small villages where the main room of every house was a few square meters large. People there earn little money, just enough to feed their families but they are always happy to offer you tea and cakes, which represent 1/6 of their daily salary!!

We then discovered touristic India. We spent our days bargaining and Indians are tough negotiators, especially if you are white. We saw wonderful landscapes and met many people. In this country, all the religions and social classes are living together. Indians are very tolerant, allowing people to have their own values. India is really the country of contrast, with its slums on the one hand and its software engineers whose skills are known around the world.

We then worked in a center where 120 children were living, headquarter of the Anbukarangal association who is in charge of 30 000 children. I taught the 3 accountants/secretaries of the association how to use a computer. They managed more then 100 000 dollars, this amount comes from the donations of Father Ceyrac's association. The ASMAE association also leads projects to help develop Anbukarangal. To their demand, I gave them a report auditing the organisation of the association, giving my opinion on the planification of the accounts computerization in order to launch long term projects on this subject.

We continued our touristic visit. From north to south, from a town to another, we went from one discovery to another. We visited the famous Taj Mahal, but also other religious monuments (mosque, jains and hindus temples, buddhists stuppas), palaces of Maharadja, fortifications, fortified towns, Benares the famous hindu holy city and not too far the town where Buddha made his first sermon. A real touristic trip where we deepened our religious culture and history of India, where we met people...

There are so many things to say about such a long trip, everything I discovered and learnt there. I know we are lucky to live in a comfortable and materialistic western society but it should not refrain our freedom and generosity.

I have also learnt it is important to remain open to the others, to take the time to listen to people, to understand people's needs, to accept and receive others. I will eventually give 2 quotations Father Ceyrac likes a lot:
"All that is not given is lost", "One only takes once the path of life"

Claire de La Borderie, 11th October 2001


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