This Easter – April 2012, 4 of our 4th year students went to Kolkata (Calcutta), India with the Hope Foundation. Ger Killoran, Alex Coleman, Cormac O’ Connor and David O’ Donnell all participated in the trip. Read Ger’s account below to get some idea of his experience.
It’s hard to believe I was in India just a few weeks ago, witnessing a completely different society and walk of life than the one I’ve grown up and lived in for the past 16years. When people ask me how I got on, what it was like, what did I feel; I physically don’t know where to begin because what I saw has changed my life forever and I don’t think synopsizing it for you does it any justice or will have even a quarter of the impact on you as it did on those on the trip with me.
Anne Copplestone, a nurse in the South Infirmary has been an ambassador of the HOPE Foundation for years. Since her first visit to Kolkata ten years ago, she has successfully brought hundreds of students in Transition Year to witness first-hand the poverty and suffering in India and show exactly where the money, that you mindlessly drop in a collection box or buy a bar with, goes.
I along with 3 from Rochestown and 59 other students from across Cork set off on a journey of a lifetime on the 24th of March to Kolkata, India. Although only being in India for 5days, I feel it’s safe to say I will never see more in such a short space of time on any trip I will take in the future. Between slums, schools, orphanages to hospitals, I have seen the severe depths of poverty to the stark upper class citizens. Like I said, to write a paragraph on each thing I saw would turn into an encyclopaedia to chronicle every last detail of each project, that HOPE funds, for you to even feel a morsel of its glory.
From the children, crippled with hunger but still with ecstatic smiles on their faces, to the slum shacks which house a family of 10 that would be the size of our downstairs bathrooms, to the volunteers, to the blaring traffic, to the colours, to the heat; what I have seen in those past 5days have been etched into my brain and have changed my life forever. This trip has shown me the true meaning of charity and how something as small as our €1 or 50c coin goes to make something big like a proper, fully functioning hospital!
Ger Killoran 4E