“Dear Pilgrim- Welcome to a home away from home…This place is managed by Moved by Love, to provide a space of love and rest during your visit to Ahmedabad” reads a sign on the wall of the volunteer housing along with some basic rules. I can see peacocks and hear children playing through the sliding door of the balcony where other housemates have left their recently hand washed clothing to dry.
I had no idea what to expect on the way from the airport- in all honesty, I was mildly terrified. “…Wait, did I just show up in India alone with plans that are vague at best? Was this a smart thing to do actually??” Crazy sh** ran through my head the closer we got to the flat.
And then- I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a warm welcome anywhere. The other housemates, of various nationalities, were extremely kind and generous with their energy. “The first time in India is the BEST.” “Things here are different, but I think they are better”. They remembered what it was like to just idealistically show up somewhere wanting to do good work but having no idea really how it will happen.
Neighbor across the hall, "time pass" with a paper crane. Serene to watch.
Everyone in the building knows each other, leaves their doors open and says good morning. It's so unlike the diverted glances and questionable sounds heard through walls that I had grown accustomed to in New York. It feels like a home.