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  Volunteer Tales >> Carmella Reece

Carmella Reece went travelling after the end of her project in India.

"India has been a very hard to place to travel round mainly because of the hassles we face. We can't walk anywhere without being stared at, asked to have our photo taken or followed. and then there's the constant hassle to go into someone's shop, the owners call out 'Hello madam, hello, hello' - they are constantly persisting. Sometimes you don't have the energy to say no thanks, but if you don't say anything then they will make as many noises as possible to attract your attention! I will be looking forward to walking down the street at home peacefully! without being treated as if I'm a famous movie star!

The poverty here has been extremely upsetting, and it's been really hard to cope with. Every time we walk anywhere we have women holding our arms, asking for our help. Gemma [GAP partner] and I bought some baby milk for 2 different women and I felt so sad, she hugged me and kept holding me in thanks when I bought the milk. But it makes you feel so guilty because we have so much. There are a lot of homeless children here and that's very hard to take in. We've been eating at stalls which means we sit on benches on the street, so when we eat you can see beggars and it seems so wrong, and sometimes it does feel really hard to eat now because I feel guilty. Yesterday when we were eating breakfast two girls came up to us - one was about five and the other one was about 3 and was dressed merely in a long sleeved top. I gave them my breakfast and they smiled so much at me, and then ten minutes later they came back, the elder one had found a pen and she drew a flower on my hand and smiled so much and it really touched me. We waved each other goodbye.

Then a little boy who works on one of the stalls came and sat next to me, and we got talking and he said he lived in the road, he had no shoes, and only one pair of clothes, its hard because you get attached to children by talking to them and then later that day you see them hungry, I bought him some dinner and he was very grateful, he held my hand and walked me back to our lodge and hugged me. But it made me feel so sad because I want to help everyone but don't have the money to do so, and I got quite upset yesterday. But I've decided that when I get home I'm going to do a sponsored event to raise money for mother Theresa's fund for the homeless in India."