Monday, May 12, 2008


So, after 6 months travelling overground from London I finally arrived to do my promised bit of volunteering (that's why I came to the Indian sub-continent, honest!).

Apart from the useless embassy officials in Kolkata and having to endure the 100th time I've been stuck on a bus with screaming kids, I arrived with no problems and was picked up near the airport by Jewel – the 'volunteer coordinator'.

After being shown to my new abode – which includes the most comfortable bed I've slept in so far! – I went to both the high-school and primary school to try and get a feel for the project. I was stunned! The buildings, the facilities, the teachers and especially the kids, were amazing! I'm so impressed by the work that has been done here in less than 3 years. I'll say it again......amazing!

Needless to say the kids were very nice to me and I haven't ever shaken so many hands in one day! Although conversation was rather limited to 'What's your name?' and 'Where are you from?' I could see by the test results pinned on the wall that their English was a lot more advanced than that. At some point I will hopefully begin teaching the kids, but at the moment I've just begun teaching the project's employees English.

My first lesson yesterday went well even though many of the employees (cooks, rickshaw drivers and cleaners) had never said a single English word except 'hello'. By the end of the lesson everyone could conduct a simple conversation (with a little help).

What is your name?
My name is -----------.
Where do you live?
I live in ---------------.
How are you?
I'm fine / happy / sad.

I've never taught before and only have a weekend TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course to my name. However, with an hour lesson every day, I think we should be able to make great progress.........

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