India Trip 2014
Our annual visit to the Salesian centres in Kolkata took place last month. Needless to say, the visits to the Don Bosco Ashalayam homes were very moving.
We took out 40 gifts for sponsored children from their sponsors as well as 610 tee-shirts; thank you to all those who sent us clothes to take out to India. Snippets of reflections from those students who travelled out to India sum up the overall effect of the trip well:
- I have never been so proud to call myself a Salesian...I am honoured by the work that the Salesians of Don Bosco are doing in India and their dedication to the Ashalayam boys we met.
- It was striking to see how poverty and wealth stood side-by-side in India: with slums next to market places. which are next to 5-star hotels...being a Salesian really does make you part of a wider, global community, one that is ready to welcome you.
- What I learnt out there was a clear guide of how to be happy, not some kind of theory that you would ever have to think about, but a clear cut example of it in action and, in hindsight, I wasn't expecting such a simple result from the trip.
- I think the thing that surprised me the most was the unassuming, gentle and loving nature of all the people we encountered - wherever we went, we were greeted with big smiles. This trip...has made me appreciate how lucky I am, but more than that, it has made me realise how easy it is to help.
- The time spent in India changes your perception: changes how you view yourself, others, and the world we live in. Visiting the Ashalayam homes that we raise money for was a humbling and eye-opening experience...the support they receive from the Ashalayam offers them more than just food, shelter and education. They are provided with a loving, supportive family environment which is crucial to their happiness...nothing sets you apart from these people other than chance.
- An education to these boys means everything...this trip has taught me that you can meet a complete stranger from across the world, and despite language barriers and major cultural differences, you can have an instant connection as a result of being a Salesian.