My experience in Vedanthangal, by Pepe Gari

Pepe Gari is the Director of the short film "Vanakkam - Laia Foundation", which explores the work of our organization through the eyes of its members and beneficiaries. You can watch it in our Youtube channel: Vanakkam - Laia Foundation

Today, three months from the day I left that village in India, called Vedanthangal, my memories of those two intense weeks have matured and it’s taking shape. Gradually, all these sensations, feelings and little moments that I recollected again and again on the plane back to Barcelona, are now blurred and mixed together. These memories create a picture that includes everything that happened those fifteen days, memories that I keep/cherish with pleasure and nostalgia.

Spending two weeks at that cozy place, lost in southern India, was hopeful experience, charming, renewing and exciting. Hopeful because we had the opportunity to see an on-going project that already pays off and will continue doing so, where the "start from scratch" took place a few years ago and today, problems such as lack of education or health see their way to a big change. Charming, because of open doors, happy teachers, joyful children, people willing to share with us a little of their lives with sincere smiles. Renewing, because being able to approach and engage a different culture and a world as rich and varied as the one you find in rural India. And exciting, because we learnt far more than we expected, we worked with enthusiasm and joy as children do.

In my opinion, people in Vedanthangal, even without being aware, made a fantastic gift to all of us. They reminded us that there is a whole humanity hidden, in the other side of the world, small places that people have lost in oblivion. So probably, these places and these people that we Westerners sometimes look with paternalism have more to teach about life than we think.