iVolunteer India Fellow Youth Programme is an annual affair conducted by iVolunteer. The programme places urban students with rural and tribal NGOs for a span of one month. iVolunteer IFY Programme 2010 saw Aparna, an information science and engineering student from Bangalore, as one of the candidates who got through the initial scanning process. She was placed with Payir Trust, a rural empowerment facilitation center based n Thenur village, Perambalur District, Tamil Nadu. She would incidentally be the author of this blog post too.
After many weeks of eager waiting, I finally found myself aboard the train to Trichy - all set to spend a month volunteering with Payir Trust. A month in the rustic backdrop, trying to be of some use to somebody, trying to touch a few lives in a small way at least, all by myself for the first time ever... A month living the kind of life I have always wanted to live... I cannot find words to express how disarming I found the whole prospect!
A delayed train journey, several calls and messages to Senthil and a ride with Renga (in his Charlie Chaplain auto rickshaw) later I found myself in the charming place that was to make a profound impact on my life... my home for a July, an Adi season in 2010, Payir. Right from Jayamma making me eat twice the quantity of Upma than I'd normally consume, to Senthil refusing to let me pay Renga, everything about my first day gave me sufficient hints about how the rest of my stay there would be like.
To the unmatched, unsurpassed hospitality that I was smothered with, the selfless ability of the folks there to adapt to anybody and make people feel like they have always belonged there, to all those wonderful people who have touched my life in ways that I cannot forget, to all the memories that I have managed to capture from these few days and to everything that has changed about me since my visit here, I shall forever remain indebted to Payir!