Bison Abroad | Easter in India

One of my favorite activities during my free time is volunteering. Whether it is the yearly NDSU Habitat for Humanity trip or something as simple as serving food and busing tables at a church supper, I love it.

In the states it is extremely easy to get involved in the community. There always seems to be some function or another in dire need of willing volunteers; some are just easier to find than others. The volunteer network on campus is a great way to stay on top of opportunities as they develop every month in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

It has been a little frustrating for me during my time here in Hyderabad to find volunteering opportunities. Unlike what I have been accustomed to, local NGO’s are not set up for short-term volunteers. Instead resumés must be sent and/or interviews conducted and long term commitments are expected. So when one of my friends in the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) program in Hyderabad with me asked if I would be interested in volunteering with her for Easter, I jumped at the chance.

I eagerly joined her at the church Saturday at noon to help set up before the kids arrived from the orphanage.

We started with hiding over 150 Easter eggs around the basement lounge and adjoining rooms. We finished just in time for the kids to arrive on their bus. My friend Katrina and I made crafts with the younger children while the older ones were in sessions. I helped draw peacocks and bunnies, and cut out numerous construction paper hearts over the following hours.

I loved seeing their creativity shine through as they drew and colored their masterpieces. The photo booth set up in the back of the main room was a big hit, too.

After eating a great lunch of chicken biryani, the time arrived for the main event: the Easter egg hunt. It was a great feeling to see how excitedly they searched for the eggs we had hidden earlier that day.

The church worship band set up and played a mini concert for everyone once all the eggs were found and it was hard to tell who enjoyed it more, the kids or the band. Both were smiling from ear to ear and dancing around the entire time. The celebration ended with singing happy birthday to the girls whose birthdays were in April and eating cupcakes before saying goodbye.

I may have spent Easter away from my family and our usual traditions, but I ended up having an extremely fulfilling Easter weekend nonetheless.

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