“This was my first National Community Service. When I received the mail from Aadil Bhaiyya saying I was selected on this journey of National Community Service, I was very excited.

My host family was very hostile and humble, they made us feel at home. I had a lovely companionship of Pawan Bhaiyya and Deepak Bhaiya who were hosted in the same family along with me. When the three of us actually met, we were so happy to be placed together that we couldn’t think of any better placement, and of course Megh Bhaiyya, my host brother, completely made my stay in Gandhinagar memorable. My host mom, Varuni Aunty was so loving and welcoming that she just made me feel cheerful even after working for 7 hours.

Talking about the community service, I was in Basan school for the first day. It was quite interesting to work with those kids. The students were not even able to write ABCD initially but at the end of the day, all of them were able to write their own names.

The second day, I was in Palaj school of Gandhinagar. In the morning, I went to the 8th grade to teach them science. After finishing with our experiments, the students wanted to dance on Zingaat with me because I was from Maharashtra. I think after that the girls also wanted to teach me garba, which I think I learned a little.

All these four days with the kids went so fast that I did not realize when I became a part of them. I taught the students of class 4th and 5th also.

But, the best moment of the school was on the last day. When I was about to leave the class 5th, which was the last class for the day, all the kids gathered around me and Abdul Salam and asked us for our autographs. That was the most adorable thing that they could’ve ever done for me and I’ve carried with this sweet memory along with me back home.  Spending seven hours a day with those students was fun. Not just teaching them but also, playing with them, dancing with them, praying with them and eating with them was so adorable that I’ve left a piece of my heart there to those kids. The smile on their face was so priceless when they used to see us coming. Even while writing this, I’m getting overwhelmed because they actually left an unforgettable impact on me.

In fact, even after working for 6-7 hours, I was never tired and even if I would get tired someday when I used to reach home…then there used to be our special tea and khakra waiting for us. It was always happy and pleasant going back home. I would say that AFS has truly given me a second home. And of course, I’ll miss everything about Gandhinagar. I have a piece of heart there.

Last but not least, I’d say a big thank you to AFS India and Divya ma’am for giving me this opportunity. This stay has actually made me learn how to get out of your comfort zone and be able to cope up with it!”


Mansi Shinde, Volunteer, Nashik Chapter