Laura Morgenstern works at The Hope Foundation head office in Cork and traveled to Kolkata as a group leader as part of HOPE’s School Immersion Programme. Laura traveled with students from Templemore Secondary School and Regina Mundi College Cork.
Below you can read Laura’s daily diary about the groups experiences in Kolkata.
10th February 2017
Hello from Kolkata! We had a fantastic first day and are off to a great start. The flights, connections and immigration went smoothly and we are all happily settled in at the hotel. Our first project visit to Kasba Girls Home was the perfect introduction to HOPE in Kolkata and we all fell in love with the little girls as we sang and danced together. We had a delicious dinner in the hotel and are ready for an early night in before we set off again in the morning. The chorus of honking is our 24 hour background music – the city is amazing.
11th February 2017
We had another great day visiting Mother Teresa’s Tomb and the HOPE hospital and we had a chance to walk (and cross!) the bustling streets of Kolkata. After a successful shopping trip to Deshkinapan we are back at the hotel and resting before dinner and an interactive history and culture session. We all look forward to putting our new sarees to good use!
12th February 2017
The days are flying!! We had a great morning of sightseeing: walking the Hoogley River, Town Square, and Victoria Memorial to name a few highlights. A delicious pizza lunch back at the hotel and a song and dance filled visit to Ashar Alo Girls Home. We are cleaning up for dinner and our henna tattoos!
13th February 2017
This morning started with a really eye opening trip to Chitpur Slum and our unforgettable visit to the crèche there. The whole experience is one I doubt any of us will ever forget. We visited Jain Temple before lunch at our Life Skills Centre and a short presentation on the work we do there. We had a hyperactive visit to the BeKind Boys home with very energetic 4-10 year old boys. We made a quick visit to Birla Templa on the way home and are now resting before dinner and our Indian dance lessons! We will have some new skills to show off at our next project visit!
14th February 2017
We had a Valentine’s Day full of fun and love. We visited the much anticipated Bhagar Dump and a government school and crèche in the area. The children were beyond excited to spend time with us and we shared that enthusiasm. After lunch at the HOPE Life Skills Centre we had time for shopping before a visit to the Mother and Child Unit. We were elaborately wrapped in our Sarees for dinner and everyone looked fantastic in their Indian wear!
15th February 2017
Can’t believe the week is over – our bags are packed and we are very sad to say goodbye after such an incredible week in Kolkata. Today we visited a private school. We had time for one last visit to a HOPE project and went to Ashirbad Boys home for some of the best dancing we’ve witnessed yet! We had the evening to pack and get organized and we are preparing for our 5am departure in the morning. We will miss Kolkata, and each other!