THROUGH THE EYES OF A VOLUNTEER: LYCIA'S STORY
Touch Nature receives international volunteers from time to time. In this article we sit down and have a chat with Lycia from Singapore.
My name is Lycia, I'm a 26 year-old teacher from Singapore.
How did you find out about Touch Nature?
I heard about it from a friend. It wasn't too long after that she got me in touch with Josephine, and now I'm here.
How do you find Touch Nature thus far?
I think anyone would agree that the business stands for a wonderful cause: to provide alternative livelihoods for women who have been trafficked into the flesh trade. I've learnt quite a bit from the women who work here in Touch Nature, I learned so many thing specially soaps and candle making like pure vanilla sea splash. If you are ever here, you should ask for some stories. They've got lots to tell. It's a small and cosy community, very welcoming. I've tried their soaps too, and they are so moisturising!
What do you do as a volunteer?
I mostly shuttle between the office and the home that Josephine and Raj run for children. In the office I am either taking photos, or helping to pack soap. At Love Home, which houses about eight young girls, I am either teaching or playing with them. I've been blessed by the companionship of these kids, too. They are a young and feisty bunch.
What is the typical day in the life of a volunteer?
Well, I wake up around 7am, just to enjoy a quiet morning. We usually have breakfast around 8am, and are ready to leave by 8:45am. The office is a short walk from Josephine and Raj's home. Work is from 9-5. After work I head to Love Home to spend time with the children before going home for dinner. Josephine and Raj love movies, so we've also seen Barfi and Talaash in the time I've been here -- two great movies you should watch, if you haven't!
What's the best thing about being a volunteer?
Encountering new lives and being able to learn from and interact meaningfully with them. It is a privilege to serve.
And what is the hardest thing?
Hmm, at the moment, the weather. And the language barrier. It's difficult to go deep into conversations and talk about heart matters when you don't speak a common language.
Would you recommend others to come to Touch Nature?
Yes! Come and see what Calcutta has to offer. It is a wonderful city -- I love its charm. Come and get to know the ladies here. I'm sure you'll have a great time.