Iwona Macalka

Iwona Macalka visits India

I spent my Christmas break 2008 in Chaparda. It was my first trip to India and an enjoyable experience.

For a long time I was looking for something different. I wanted to do something meaningful and worthwhile. Finding the Beht website and learning about the project in India was exciting and helped me to make the decision to go there.

While staying in Chaparda I taught English at the Brahmanand Vidya School, which was an experience requiring new skills especially when teaching some of the older children. Until now I have only worked with nursery aged children in the UK, where I work as an Early Years Educator at Bayonne Nursery School in Fulham. All the children were excited and interested in learning English and their level of understanding was different depending on their age.

The life in Chaparda was peaceful and well organised. When I read the information from the website I did imagine it differently. In reality Chaparda is a purpose built, self sufficient village with a boarding school, farm and other facilities such as a laundrette, bakery, barber and stationery shop. I was surprised to find out that most of the people in Chaparda spoke some English, which made my life much easier as I do not speak any Gujarati.

My short time in India was not spent working all the time. I had three days off, which I spent sightseeing. I visited the nearest town called Junagadh. I climbed the Mount Girnar, which took all day and my legs ached for two days after climbing the 10.000 steps. I also went to the Sansan Gir National Park and Somnath Temple. Before I knew it was a time to say goodbye.

Thanks to all people from the Chaparda village I experienced a wonderful time. I experienced hospitality and learnt not to take good and obvious things in life for granted. I learnt that happiness can be found in a simple life.


watch a short video of BEHT

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