Dharamsala is a small town in India at the foot of the Himalaya mountains. Luckily I was picked together with nine other Celanese colleagues from all around the world to volunteer in a CSR project with kids between the age of one and five.
Emotional was this journey to a country and culture that is so different to my own life in Europe. The kids made me laugh and cry. The feelings that I had each day are very difficult to describe.
Adventurous were our taxi rides.
Rose and thorns were our daily evening rituals in which we described our daily highs and lows and learned so much more about each other, about our feelings, emotions and personalities.
Challenging was each day with the kids. The communication was difficult. The kids kept us busy. Some days we had three kids, other days 50 – all talking and jumping on us at the same time!
Exciting was our visit to the Tibetan Library where we had a very interesting lecture about the Tibetan life, their philosophy and religion and were invited to join the early morning meditation sessions, thanks to Geoff Mullen.
Luckily I was supported by a fantastic colleague, Cole Foor. We were on the same team and had fun teaching the kids the alphabet, numbers and the five little monkeys song. We built them a tire swing, painted a hop scotch board and drew a number snake.
Amritsar was the place we visited during our free time on the weekend. Although the Golden Temple of Amritsar is without doubt one the most fascinating places in the world, the town is hot, dirty, loud and chaotic.
Nandini’s was the name of our hostel, a luxury home in comparison to the accommodations of local people, even though we had to shower with cold water. Just across the street, a family of 10 or more people were living in a spot that was not bigger than a “one car garage.” I doubt that they had a shower at all.
Excellent was our “tour guide” Jillian. Always in a good mood, supportive and very well organized. With her warm and friendly nature, she tied the group together and made sure we all reached the New Delhi Airport on our last day without any problems.
Sensitive, passionate and very special people I had around me. We were a great team – helpful and considerate. No one complained about our daily challenges (heat, insects, food…)
Engaged, yes fully engaged I feel very proud to work for Celanese. We shouldn’t take for granted that the company sends employees on such a journey to help others, to get insights about other cultures, and to change views on what we have, our privileges and what really matters in life.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of nine blog posts by Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) team members who served for two weeks in Dharamsala, India.