CAREducation Trust’s Rickshawalas: A way of life- Part 2
So the charity trip had begun, which basically to me was the beginning of the end, how wrong I was! There were so many ups and downs of the trip, people left us, people joined us, but our team was united. Throughout the trip, every morning began with our prayers and every night ended with the 9 of us all together relaxing and reliving the adventures of the day, or basically what Janvi called, ‘recharging our batteries’. This oneness kept the team strong and able to face each day and each challenge together.
My most memorable driving memories would have to be between, the flying cow incident and the Manali incline in the rain. Yes that’s right a flying cow! It could only happen to me, driving along as Rickshaw 2 through a town and all of a sudden a cow flies from the left and lands directly in front of my rickshaw! Never has my emergency braking been more on point! I think I must have stopped 4 inches in front of the cow. I was in disbelief, my heart was racing and I couldn’t stop laughing! This cow was totally unfazed and just jammed in the middle of the road!
Rickshawali Dilisha driving up the rainy inclines to Manali…
The incline up to Kullu Manali got chilly; at this point all Rickshawala’s were riffling through bags looking for hoodies! The rain suddenly poured down on us in true Indian fashion! Our little windscreen wipers were having trouble and my all important vital horn went squeaky! I think it got water logged… again only me hey! I have to say, I apologise again to the team, I hogged this drive, I was having the time of my life, those hill climbs, those corners, the views, I was taking it all in, constantly being asked if I wanted to change drivers, but always refusing! But soon Team Leader Nirav stepped in and replaced me, it was only after I stopped that I realised it was a great idea. The excitement kept me going but once I stopped it all caught up!
Finally driving into Manali, all four girls took the drivers seat, Janvi drove whilst I sat next to her. The reception when we arrived was indescribable! The other team members will tell you more about this, but for me, my personal feelings are hard to write,I was overwhelmed. I felt like we didn’t deserve such credit and gratitude that the people of Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association School were showing us. I felt like we hadn’t done anything yet! To share this moment with my team members, to have that group hug in the middle of the town, to share all those emotions between us, it was more than we could ever have imagined it to be.
Then it came to handing the keys over into Lama-ji’s hands, and him realising we were donating the rickshaws to the school… he couldn’t believe it, that happiness in his eyes made my heart melt. Looking around me, all I could see on the faces of the children and teachers were smiles, smiles and more smiles! They now have transport to get around, something so simple that we take for granted, but it meant so much to them. To be able to donate the two Rickshaws, Laila and Surya we do still need your support, to help us to fund this donation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rickshawalas with the kids of Manali and Lamaji
There was one moment that stuck in my mind and stood out, we spent a day at the school with the children, observing their talents, being in awe of their dedication, their drive to learn and their happiness and appreciation of what life had given them. We listened in on classes and even got stuck in playing, singing, and dancing with them in their playground (not our type of playground with soft finishing and rounded edges, it was a rock filled, uneven courtyard with mounds of dirt and construction sand, and yes I twisted my ankle on this playing with the kids! Again only me!). The girls taught us a Nepalese dance as well as all the moves to Chikni Chameli! That was such an experience! As hard as I tried I couldn’t do it like these amazing talented young girls!
Dilisha with the kids of Manali
I took a moment for reflection whilst here, where I took team leader Nirav up to the rooftop of the school where we observed, and took in what we saw and shared how we felt about the trip. We just watched the team below interacting with the children; Bhavik and Janvi were filming and interviewing the children, Kavi and Nishil were talking to a group of boys, Raveena was dancing with some girls and Kushan and Aarti were playing antakshari, singing. Such joys, such happiness, such contentment could be seen, and felt in our hearts. I turned to Nirav and said:
“Just look down there; look at what we have worked for. We can really change these children’s lives and ensure they have the right footing. Your idea has brought us here, you have done this, and for that I’m truly grateful.”
What has really changed my life, is thinking of what I can personally do to improve the lives of all the children we met along the way. Each child has the thirst to learn, to progress, and to succeed. I want to help and assist these amazing talented people. They are much much more talented than I am! In Bassi Pathana, in a stitching workshop, the young girls tried to teach me how to stitch, I failed! They make it look so easy, but there is skill and talent in all that they do. The contrast from being labelled as an NRI to feeling at one with everyone, feeling like this is my home, these are my people, my culture and my community. I have such a connection to this population, one that I can empathise with. Their struggles are my struggles.
The students of Bassi Pathana (Mehar Baba Charitable Trust)
There was not one child or person that I met that needed a handout or just wanted our money; they just need support so they can improve their lives themselves. I was fortunate to see the difference CARE has made in the lives of others, but to think this is a tiny percentage of the people that would love our support. After seeing what I saw, after understanding their needs, feeling their emotions, I need to be apart of the change that improves the lives of those less privileged. I feel I have to do something, and I will
To share this experience with the people that I have over the last 2 years and the actual trip, has changed everything about me and my life, and I hope to use this strength together to really make a difference, as I always said, “Change the world, one child at a time.” We can change the future and ensure it will be a better one.
The Rickshawala Trip wasn’t just 12 days, 1800 km from Bhuj to Manali, it was 2 years, from friends to family, to my personal growth from being a lost little girl with no direction to a young lady who knows exactly what she wants to do in life. My ambition is to dedicate my life to help others get the right footing in life. I owe this dream to CARE and hope with their support I can fulfill it.