February 20, 2021, 5 p.m: Bangalore’s airport.
In the taxi taking me to my future home, I gaze at the road while amazed by the amount of cars, motorcycles, scooters, rickshaws, cows, and pedestrians making their way through the tumultuous and effervescent city of Bangalore, or Bengaluru as I like to call it.
The trip lasts an hour, and as we make our way in the small streets of one of Bangalore’s slum called DJ Hali, the lights are getting rarer and rarer. After several minutes lost in the slum, it is finally in front of a large black padlocked gate, in a street devoid of any electricity, that the driver drops us off. It’s 6 p.m, it’s pitch black, the center seems empty, and suddenly, the children come running to greet us. At that exact moment, I finally realize the impact of the decision I made.
My name is Cécile, I am 26 years old, and after studying digital communication and visual journalism, I decided to fulfill one of my biggest dreams by working in the communication for an organization. In November 2020, I applied at Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y), an international association whose mission is to support young people living in extreme poverty and exclusion to find stable and decent jobs and allow them to reintegrate into society. LP4Y offers missions in VSI, Volontariat de Solidarité Internationale. Thanks to LP4Y and the DCC, the organization that sent me, I am going on a one-year mission to Bengaluru to be a part of the Communication, Fundraising and Partnerships team.
The weeks leading up to my departure were filled with questions, excitement, dreams and goodbyes. My apprehension did not come until my arrival. In front of this black padlocked gate overlooking a dark entrance where children were gathered around us very happy to see new faces and shouting at the top of their lungs “hello, how are you?”, I could not help but give way for doubt. After a short moment of panic, we are greeted by the rest of the team and we settle into our new home. In the evening, I go to bed on a mattress as hard as the wooden bed frame, and I fall asleep with my head full of reflections, apprehensions, doubts, and fears.
Little did I know that the following days would remove every single doubts from my head and would instead, leave room for adventure and discovery.