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A Return to India

The auto rickshaw lineup at Nawada station, in Delhi.

Crystal returns from India, but she's not saying goodbye.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to do any volunteering during my stay in India. I had a difficult time finding any free volunteer opportunities and when I finally had the chance, I became ill and extremely dehydrated at the same time. Luckily, with the help of a close friend, DN, I got the proper treatment and recovered before heading back home to America.

In light of discovering where I truly belong, I'm happy to announce that I will be returning to India in less than a month! DN will be helping me settle somewhere and as soon as I have adjusted once again, we will be volunteering together. I'd like to help in any way I can, but there are two things I know I'm especially good at—childcare and teaching—and I would love to put those skills to good use! And after spending so much time in India, I am curious about helping the street children. The orphaned, abandoned, homeless or otherwise needy children begging on the streets.

I had a few interesting experiences with children calling to me, peering through car windows with dirty faces and wide, curious eyes, offering hand-made goods for cheap, or asking for money to eat, using a combination of hand gestures and their native language. These children are found everywhere. Sometimes they are accompanied by their mother, but sometimes not.

One experience in particular has stuck with me.

I was exiting the metro station with DN, on our way to our next adventure. Outside, as usual, were dozens of auto rickshaws, lining the dusty streets. In the middle of the road, sitting on the median, was an entire homeless family. They formed a crowd, but I only remember seeing the mother, father and two children: a girl about 8-years-old, and a boy about 5. The little girl suddenly darted through traffic to a family approaching an auto rickshaw. They turned her away, and she went back to her family just as quickly.

As DN actively searched for the ideal auto rickshaw, I studied the family. The young boy, barefoot and wearing nothing but a sort of loincloth, spotted me. His eyes changed and he looked to his inattentive sister. When she didn't respond to his stare, he touched her shoulder. She still didn't look at him. Finally he stumbled through traffic, towards me. DN called my attention and we got in an auto rickshaw. The boy had just enough time to approach my side of the vehicle, touch my feet and ramble something in Hindi. Then we suddenly took off. I could not immediately help that boy and the memory of it has never left me.

I believe that there is a way to help the needy and the needy are abundant. It's my passion, and I'll be doing a lot more investigating when I get back to India. I'll see you then!

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
Crystal Collins

When she knew she had a greater purpose, Crystal decided to upgrade her unfulfilling life by following her dreams and moving to India. Crystal spends time travelling, plotting to save the world and sharing her adventures through writing.

Website: myhindiheart.com/

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