Volunteering in Mother Teresa’s Houses in Calcutta, India – The Travel Experience Which Changed My Life

A normal day of June or maybe July. 2010. My Indian experience was coming to an end, but there was still some time around and some more things to do. One of them was to volunteer in Mother Teresa’s Houses in Calcutta, India.

A bit of introduction about the houses: Mother Teresa’s dream was to build several houses, and not only houses, but an entire self sustaining life for those who were living on the streets. Currently there are several houses and hospitals for the elderly, beggars, those suffering from leprosies or the ones which have scars of the illness and would be almost impossible for them to adjust in the society.

The houses are pretty self sustaining, they do their own cloth, grow their own food, prosthesis for those who need them and so on.

I wanted to volunteer in Mother Theresa’s houses in Calcutta India, just for doing something good for of humanity or at least this is what I was thinking back then.

So here I am in front the the house as many others. All great, they make us an introduction tour about what they do, people who live there and everything we wanted to know about the place.

Second day was the day to take care of the children. Since that was my first time volunteering for the houses, I was part of the group of those who take care of the ones whose health is most affected. When you volunteer for longer (months) you start working with children who are recovering because it’s very important for them to have a stability in the persons that they see every day and make long term treatment.

My job was to clean the house, wash cloths, feed the children and so on. These so called children were human beings, but not looking as one. With twisted bodies, mutilated, tortured, small, underdeveloped bodies, some blind, none could talk or even hold a fork due to the physical limitations. It was a day of a lot of questions for me: who are these children, who some of them were in fact adults older than me, where are their families, where are their friends, how they got to look like this, how they got to have such a life, no life; what is their future? will they ever be fine? will they ever can walk, talk, eat, have a job?

I went for dinner with my mates and I asked them: why are you here? To help. To help the ones less lucky as us.

Me: to help? how? in what? that’s not a life! they don’t have a life, we do nothing for them, because they will never get to have a self sustaining life.

I went back the next day. Now my questions were focused on the story of the children from the houses since they got to the house: how were they taken care, what can I do to help them improve their condition, how long it takes, what means to have progress, etc. I was even given an exercises manual to learn how to help them exercise correctly. Since their bodies were so twisted and so deformed, the pain of the exercises was so big that even now, 6  years later I still hear their screams.

Next day, the 3rd, I just went to help with the cleaning. I wanted to listen to the experiences of the other volunteers. We finished faster, so I helped with feeding the dinner for the children. One volunteer told me the child was about 16 years old. It was one of those moments in life when your entire brain stops, your logic fails on the ground, there is no way your mind can process that. That small twisted body can’t be more than 6 years old. I was feeding a teenager which never knew the live and will not have too many days left. My mind refused to understand, my heart was continue to question…


That was my last day as volunteer in Mother Teresa’s Houses and my last intent ever to volunteer for a humanity cause like this. I believe there was nothing I could really do for those children to ever have a better life and I’m not going to use misuse Mother Teresa’s good intentions to pretend I’m helping the world when I don’t.

I never ever gave money to a bagger again either and I preach every time I can against giving money to the baggers for the simple fact that worst they look, more money they get and not really for them. If they don’t make money any more reasons for their “bosses” to mutilate them.

Independent of this, I believe that the way we can help the world is just by being happy, traveling the world, get to know the world as it is, appreciate what we have, work hard, take care of ourselves. If we all do that, we are already living in a better world.

That experience had such a big impact in me, that I start seeing life different, acting different, appreciate the simple fact that I could travel, I can work, I can run, I can smile, eat, cry, hear, feel, LIVE!

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