March 20-22. Calcutta. Mother Teresa.

Our hotel in Calcutta is quite comfortable. Unfortunately, our couchsurfer was not available so we couldn’t discover the city from the inside as much as we would have liked to. Now we just walk around the old streets and drop by an Italian restaurant that serves delicious pizza. The place is owned by an Indian food enthousiast, and whenever he likes a cuisine, he adds a restaurant to his culinary imperium.

We have run out of ideas and energy to be frank, and it comes in handy that this is the city of Mother Teresa. We will visit her charity here and support one of the affiliated orphanages. It is easy to find, and they welcome us. But we are not the only visitors. This is a multi million dollar charity industry of devout followers of mother Teresa. I like to support her though, especially now in days where the Pope is saying a lot of harch and unfriendly things. We explain a nun about Charity Travel, and she nods her head in kindness. Yes we can make a donation and we can visit the place where they are enrolling volunteers. We walk over to another compound where about fifty foreigners are filling out forms and lining up in front of a desk to get their volunteer assignment done. We speak to the man standing behind that desk but he doesn’t seem very interested. So we simply donate some cash inside (have to get rid of it in some way) and interview one of the participating volunteers, a middle-aged Canadian woman. She is very enthousiastic about the openness here: they literally take everybody that lines up here with their passport.
Calcutta, what else? A friendly giant, cosy old market streets, motives and moments for your camera on every corner, and you can still sense the British colonialism on some of her streets. There is a cathedral with a stable roof.

I buy the book “the white tiger” on the street.

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March 20-22. Calcutta. Mother Teresa.

Our hotel in Calcutta is quite comfortable. Unfortunately, our couchsurfer was not available so we couldn’t discover the city from the inside as much as we would have liked to. Now we just walk around the old streets and drop by an Italian restaurant that serves delicious pizza. The place is owned by an Indian food enthousiast, and whenever he likes a cuisine, he adds a restaurant to his culinary imperium.

We have run out of ideas and energy to be frank, and it comes in handy that this is the city of Mother Teresa. We will visit her charity here and support one of the affiliated orphanages. It is easy to find, and they welcome us. But we are not the only visitors. This is a multi million dollar charity industry of devout followers of mother Teresa. I like to support her though, especially now in days where the Pope is saying a lot of harch and unfriendly things. We explain a nun about Charity Travel, and she nods her head in kindness. Yes we can make a donation and we can visit the place where they are enrolling volunteers. We walk over to another compound where about fifty foreigners are filling out forms and lining up in front of a desk to get their volunteer assignment done. We speak to the man standing behind that desk but he doesn’t seem very interested. So we simply donate some cash inside (have to get rid of it in some way) and interview one of the participating volunteers, a middle-aged Canadian woman. She is very enthousiastic about the openness here: they literally take everybody that lines up here with their passport.
Calcutta, what else? A friendly giant, cosy old market streets, motives and moments for your camera on every corner, and you can still sense the British colonialism on some of her streets. There is a cathedral with a stable roof.

I buy the book “the white tiger” on the street.

Missionaries of Charity

Missionaries of charity, Calcutta

Kolkata, India. March 25th, 2010

Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of charity offer volunteer opportunities in the poorest parts of Calcutta and other cities for every visitor who is willing to help.

We donate food for the orphans resident at the center.

Name Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa), Calcutta
Aim The Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center is a non-profit organization established and directed by the religious family founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity.
Since Mother Teresa founded MC (Missionaries of Charity) in 1950
Staff 40 sisters, 30 candidates, about 15 volunteers work here, they stay somewhere between 2 weeks and 6 months
Contact http://motherteresa.org/layout.html
www.motherteresa.org/07_family/volunteering/v_cal.html
mtc@motherteresa.org

Donation 5,000 Rupees (111 USD)

We don’t need to search long for a Cause in Calcutta. Everybody associates this city with charity, because it was in the streets of Calcutta that Mother Teresa began her mission. Now, more than a decade after her passing, her organisation, Missionaries of Charity, is represented in far over 100 countries. We visit the “Mother’s House” where we have a glimpse at her tomb, a simple marble square decorated with flowers. It is explicitly allowed to take pictures of the grave. We ask whom we should talk to if we would like to make a donation and wanted to be shown around, and they send us to another building.
It is one of the orphanages run by the organisation, and they are just enrolling volunteers. Dozens of foreigners have flocked to the building and await their turn patiently on wooden benches in the courtyard. Everybody is accepted here upon presentation of their passport. No need of police clearance, application forms and fees, proof of experience in interacting with ovc’s – it is working according to what we have in mind. The volunteers are sent to orphanages or centers that take care of the fatally ill and destitute in high density areas, where they help out with all daily chores and basically relieve the burden of the nuns.
We talk to some volunteers about their work here.

“The Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center is a non-profit organization established and directed by the religious family founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity.

The Center’s aim is to serve as a centralized and authoritative source of information on Mother Teresa, to facilitate the spread of authentic devotion to her, and to safeguard her words and image from misuse or abuse. The founding of such a Center was first proposed by the Office of the Postulation of Mother Teresa in 2002 and is a development of that Office’s work of supporting authentic devotion and knowledge of Mother Teresa. “

We conduct a short interview with Eliza, a Canadian lady in her fifties volunteering here.

How did you find out about it?
-It is very well-known. This is my second time here, and I know about it through word of mouth.
How long will you be in India?
-This time I spend one year here, for travelling and meditation. It’s my fifth time in India.
What was your first experience like?
-Here in Shishubavan I worked with children for ten days, feeding and changing them, and giving physical therapy. My first time working for Missionaries of Charity however was in Khaligat, and that was a very special experience. I worked with adolescents there.
What is it that makes it special?
-The motto “do all you do with love.” They don’t ask special questions, no training is necessary, you are asked to do all sort of things. In Khaligat I ended up giving out medicine and massaging them.
Do you encounter any language problems?
-Often they don’t speak English, but we can use sign language. Or just hold hands, when emotional support is needed.
Have you done volunteering in other countries?
-No. It is not easy to find ways to do it.

Missionaries of Charity was originally published on Meandering home