Contributed by Eiichi Tanaki, Social Volunteer Internship Student at ILSC-New Delhi
From this week, I have started a new program in India. It is a job of a voluntary teacher (in an NGO School at Gurgaon, India) for 5 to 16 year olds from the slums. I had looked for an internship program at a company in India. But my second life dream is to become a teacher. So I have been surprised.
Here is my typical day, in detail: I commute to the office by metro. After that, I must negotiate with auto-rickshaw drivers (total 1 hour). By that time, I have already become exhausted, but I must be with my students the whole day. Of course I don’t have my private desk, teacher’s room and even teacher’s toilet. Surprisingly, there is the toilet in our classroom only, next to a whiteboard. I am ashamed to go there. The students can’t use English satisfactorily, and I can’t use their language, Hindi, at all.
So we must express feelings with actions or body language. As you know, I am so tired every morning, and everything is unaccustomed for me. However, the smiles and behavior of the students give me an infinite power because I am able to teach them. This is my treasure, pleasure or happiness. When I imagine and think what I should teach for their future, I can recover from my tiredness. I have felt and thought about a big “challenge”. Of course for me, and them also. From my experience at my previous workplace and my glorious university days, I want to create something for them so that they can overcome the challenges of their living environment. We must consider about our life and what we should do for the next generation or how can we live as humankind for the others, especially when they need help.
Yesterday, after working, I was in the rear seat of an auto rickshaw (like “Jinrikisha + auto-sanrin” in Japanese), with a fatigue and released feeling. Suddenly, I had an accident with a car. Fortunately I am unhurt, but once the accident happened, it was so crowded and each driver got so angry, maybe for their business tools’ compensation. They kept arguing in the middle of the road. Of course many cars honked their horns; however, the drivers’ passion didn’t settle. So there are complicated traffic jams. From starting this program, about 1 month passed. However, auto rickshaw drivers don’t remember my face, destination or the price of the trip. So every day I experience a fever between the drivers and me like once in NYSE or Tsukiji market in Japan. Otherwise, they may pretend to forget me intentionally, to get more money from me.
I made a routine. Before entering my office, I go to a students’ meeting place. So I must start from my apartment 40 minutes earlier than the proper starting time. Arriving there, it is so noisy and energetic with about 50 students laughing or fighting, sometimes shedding tears. However by these noises, I can recharge my power.
One day, I couldn’t eat the school’s lunch. It was too hot to eat for me. I apologized to the aunts who make lunch every day. However they can’t use English. After few minutes, when going back to my classroom, I was called by them. They made all the way for me one cup of noodle, without spice. It was the critical cause for me to decide to learn Hindi. Now I can tell them “Thank you, very tasty dishes” in their language, without any dictionary or book. Nevertheless, strangely on my way from work, with an absolutely exhausted body and a heavy head, I already think of their smiles and I feel happy unconsciously that “tomorrow I can meet them again.” From these things, I have felt that they have accepted me not only as a teacher, but also as one of their members, like part of the family. When I gaze at the students, some songs are played. I don’t forget these. They are “青春 / Sei-shun (by THE HIGH-LOWS)” and “今日から明日へ / Kyou-kara-asu-e (it is a chorus song for kids)” If you have time, I recommend to search in YouTube.