Volunteer Kevin's encounter with a Fat Indian Buffalo & PPES!

03 May 2010

The favorite part of my volunteer experience has been getting to know many of the students and teachers from the Anupshahar area.

They come to school to learn, to make friends, to chase each other around the school’s campus, and to escape the harsh reality that is their everyday lives. The students are really intelligent, but they just need to be given a chance to develop their intellectual capacities.

I can tell they are fascinated by digital cameras and laptop computers and express curiosity over my style of dress or the color of my hair. I think I’ve learned just as much from these students as they’ve learned from me. I’ve learned about their families, their villages, what sports they like, and even some basic Hindi phrases.

Some of these students can crush a softball or cricket ball, and I've had a few close calls with nearly having my head taken off! If anything, I’ve learned how much entertainment you can provide by just being here and being in the presence of these kids.

What was really eye opening to me is that for every student PPES educates, there are probably 10 kids in the area that aren’t so fortunate.

I visited some of the surrounding villages during the day, and there are groups of kids running around the fields or through the streets instead of being in school. They all come out to see the Western visitor…first it’s a group of 5 to 10 but before you know it there are 25 or 30 kids following you through the streets, and the number just grows.

I told myself that in the states all these kids would be in elementary or pre-K schools. However, what’s even more striking is the hospitality from many of these villagers. Sure, many live on less than $2 a day, but they want you to come see their homes, their cows, have tea, and engage them in some form of communication.

In fact, the first village experience I had involved getting a bit too close to a buffalo, as in 6 inches from its face. I didn’t expect to turn a corner and walk head-first into a grazing buffalo.

At the school, I wrote and taught a class to the students on banking, providing a high overview of why we have banks and how they function.

This was essential for students to understand since they will be graduating with 30,000 rupees in a fixed deposit account. I alsohelped teach a few English classes as well as directed games class while the usual teacher was on leave for exams.

I’ve really enjoyed my experience here, and I hope to stay involved as much as possible upon my return to Boston. There’s so much potential to grow this organization and so many great ideas that are floating around, such as a micro-lending program. I encourage everyone to get involved, become a volunteer, sponsor one of our students, or donate to any of our initiatives.

Kevin Dziubek is a Management Consultant at the L.E.K Consulting in Boston, U.S.A. He volunteered with PPES from March-April 2010.


Lorenzo said...

Well done Kevin!