Give an education to gain an education
Gaining an education was neither the purpose of this venture nor was it within the reaches of my imagination how literal this sentence would prove to be. I had decided to spend a year volunteering. It was a vaguely researched decision of the heart over the head that steered me towards India and the Tibetan community. My heart chose well. I threw caution to the wind and came to India without a plan, without direction, without expectations. Diving head-first is a risky business but it achieves depth.
And so it was with hope, excitement and a dash of fear that I began to wander. I stumbled across E.S. Tibet and after a brief introduction and tour, my heart had finished wandering. I moved into the volunteer rooms as soon as the manager agreed to take me on as a teacher. I agreed to stay for one month. After one week I asked if it would be possible to stay until Christmas. After two, I asked if I could possibly return after Christmas for another six months. I had wandered into a fairy ring with no return.
The students have taught me humility, compassion and honesty. I have taught them English! The teacher became the student. They have shown me how I want to live my life, the importance of our relationships with others, the importance of openness with ourselves and with others. They have shown me the meaning of contentment. I will forever be grateful to each
of them for our chats, debates, for spontaneous hugs, for pulling me up the mountain, for their humour and enthusiasm and for their joyful singing.
And now my time here is coming to an end, yet I feel that my life has just begun. My life as I want to now live it. The line between teacher and friend has been breached and I have made twenty-four of them, be they teachers or friends. While still I love to wander, the school had taught me how to rest, enjoy, appreciate. I will wander on but this place will remain a fresh print on my heart.
By Eibhlin Nic Diarmada