To all the boys...

Panaji Travel Blog

 › entry 40 of 68 › view all entries
Everyone, with Micheal (from Belfast) and Amit. [Minus Tolen, Imo, Tohiba and Alexander]


I wish you all the happiness and success in the world. Know that anything in life is possible, just believe in yourself. I believe in each of you and know all of you will grow up to be great men of India one day.


With love,

Uncle Ruwan

-Toronto, Canada


Those are the words I left for the boys on the new volunteer board we put in place at the boys home.

Me and Payal
  Three weeks since arriving at the boys home as the first volunteer, a lot of change has happen in the home, I hope positive change with the boys, and definitely change with me.


When I first arrived no one really knew what a volunteers role would be, how we could help out, what expectations foreigners would come with to a volunteer position, what foreigners would expect from accommodations.  After 3 weeks with me being the "guinea pig", as the travel company called my placement, all those questions have been resolved and I hope everything is now in place for future volunteers.


The head of the boys house, Amit, and I talked a lot during my time there. One of the major changes we made at the house was setting up a volunteers room and volunteer washroom.  Basically a place a foreigner volunteer would find nice, clean and accommodating. 


For the first week and a half I was there, I just stayed on a bed in one of the rooms with the other boys.

At the daycare with Afina, Saheed, Myma and Afreda
As much as I loved hanging out with the boys and all the time hearing  "uncle, uncle", its nice to have your own space. Lucky for us, there was actually one free room no one was using, so we turned that room into the volunteers room. Put 2 beds, a chair, some night tables, and a cabinet. All things that were already lying around the house. To make it more "welcoming" we added the volunteer board and some hand-drawn pictures and painting  in a collage on the wall. All pictures supplied by the resident artist Tombisana. 


All the work Amit and the boys did to put together the room and clean up one of the washrooms and make it for volunteers was a success! In my last week there., Michael from Belfast joined us, he was our "guinea pig", and much to our excitement he was really happy with the accommodations :).  


Before I talk about the boys, I have to mention more about Amit.

Tolen, Alex, and Imo
  Amit is the head of the house, and a young guy himself (24). He left a job in Delhi, as an accountant, to come live where he always wanted to live, Goa and start a travel company. We become friends, and he and I spent a lot of time talking about life, business ideas, website design, basically all things to help him start that travel company. I really wish him all the luck in the world and hope one day he is successful.   


To the boys. Wow, what to say about my experience with them. I hope I was able to make a little change in each of their lives, I hope they look back and remember their first pizza dinner, first pasta dinner, their first trip to the beach or old Goa. Most of all I hope I have inspired them to know they can do anything in life, to know they arent limited because of poverty and social status. Also to know they too can travel the world. When I first came, I would say you too can travel around the world, and they would laugh, saying they could never afford to do so, that they would never get the chance to.

Tohiba, Tushar, Robert, Aboy, Alex and Tolen in the new Volunteers room
  When I left them, they all said they would come visit me one day in Canada. I really hope they all do get a chance to come, my door is always open to them.


For me, this volunteer experience was exactly what I was hoping for.  Not only did I get to share some quality time with the boys, and for that matter at the girls home and daycare, and teach them a few things, be a mentor, a role model, I also got the opportunity to feel like a local a bit. Taking the local buses, going to the market to buy live chickens and  cooking dinner, to just knowing where to go and get things done in Panjim. Overall, I will always look back fondly on this experience. :)


So whats next!? Does the story with Seva Trust and the boys end there? Well I hope not.  I'm hoping to help the Seva Trust well past these 3 weeks.

The boys having a pizza dinner, for some its their first time eatting pizza. Mmm pizzaa
  While their, I finally put my photography skills to use and took a ton of pictures for them to use on their new website.  Also I plan to set up a Facebook page for past, present and future volunteers to write about their experiences and hopefully inspire more people to come volunteer.  It is this network of volunteers, that Seva Trust has the most hope for to help them towards a better future.  In the new year I also plan to have a fundraising dance to help Seva Trust.  Like the dances Ive helped plan out before, I hope this will be a successful.  My main goal is to put each of those boys through school until they graduate.  Most now go to government schools, to go to a decent private school it might cost about $20 bucks a month. As most of appreciate, our educations have go us to where we are now, I know it has for me, so education is the only way these boys will have a chance. So I am hopeful that through fundraising efforts well be able to give them that chance for success. :)


Next up, Rajasthan! 




yani_istora says:
I love this piece. a bit teary too.
Posted on: Jun 24, 2010
cloudcover says:
Do you have Amit's website for his travel agency? I plan to travel to India in the near future and he might be able to help...
Posted on: Jun 23, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Everyone, with Micheal (from Belfa…
Everyone, with Micheal (from Belf…
Me and Payal
Me and Payal
At the daycare with Afina, Saheed,…
At the daycare with Afina, Saheed…
Tolen, Alex, and Imo
Tolen, Alex, and Imo
Tohiba, Tushar, Robert, Aboy, Alex…
Tohiba, Tushar, Robert, Aboy, Ale…
The boys having a pizza dinner, fo…
The boys having a pizza dinner, f…
Tushar, Alex and Tolen
Tushar, Alex and Tolen
Afina, my little helper at the day…
Afina, my little helper at the da…
Saving goodbye
Saving goodbye
photo by: anlis