What is Service Learning in India

Journal Prompt: What is Service Learning in India?

I’ve come to realize there is no specific definition for service learning in India. This course has taught me that in another country one must be prepared for anything. While at HOINA, we have been asked to do a number of tasks. These range from fun activities such as playing board games or on the playground with the children, to studying with them, crafts, correcting their behavior, and setting an example for them. While not required, it is strongly encouraged to attend prayer time and church. We also have been asked to help chop vegetables in the kitchen, sand and paint the playground equipment and fence around the property and white wash a school in the local village. There is rarely a dull moment around here.

This is all a labor of love, just like the work that is performed at the U.S. HOINA office. Actually, if you look at this as having paid tuition to take this trip, we are paying to do work. Fyfe made a point that the work we do could easily be done by hiring a laborer for less than $5 a day. We all would have saved $3,595 had we just each pitched in $5, but that’s not what this course is about. We came here to learn from the service we provide and to touch the lives of children we never would have met otherwise. These children and this organization have really touched my life. While I sit here and write, the little girl I sponsor, Gaya, is sitting a stone’s throw away, happy to just be nearby while I do my homework. She is making a “gimp chain” for her book bag. It’s plastic string woven together into a key chain or a pull for a zipper, something the girl’s from York College taught them how to do; such a simple activity that keeps the children busy and entertained for essentially pennies. Forever we have made an imprint on the children at HOINA and in return, they have done the same for us. That is service learning.

Geetha and her gimp cord

Geetha and her gimp cord

I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,

~P.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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