Volunteering India

This newsletter we talk about issues concerning you and me. When was the last time you went to the grocers and felt, ‘Oops! This seems higher priced than last week.’

Last few decades there has been an income growth, climate change, high energy prices, globalization and urbanization that has transformed the situation of the food in this new world order. Prices of food are rising or let’s just say they have just doubled. This time round it has not only affected the world’s poor but also people who thought they were food secure.

Next is the issue of climate change. Aarti Yamsanwar has written about ten simple things one could do to go green. Going Green is similar to-When you plan to loose weight you change over from sedentary lifestyle to Moderate lifestyle. So here you go less conscientious towards being more of that.

Lastly I want to tell that my city of JAIPUR is safe for tourists. There has been some setback by the uncouth act of some people but life is back to normal and I am happy to announce that we are a safe haven for all volunteers.

See you sometime at JAIPUR

Vinod Meena

Diary of an Intern in Five Star Hotel

I am Chengzhi Zhao, a university student of China. As I will graduate a few months later, I wanted to find a place to do my internship. I searched a lot on the internet, where I found a number of websites for volunteering and the organization had various programs for the volunteers. However, most of them were quite expensive and their charges were a bit high than my expectations. Then I came across Volunteering India and opted for volunteering for the organization. I liked it as it was reasonable, had many
activities and programs too. I worried about a particular sentence, "you paid what you get". I was not sure about the quality of work, but when I reached India to start
with my internship, I was quite convinced with the work and had nothing to worry about.

In India, I stayed in Pahanganj area in New Delhi for two days. This place is really good for packers. After that I went to Jaipur where Vinod found a guest house for me to stay. The place was really a neat and clean and also at an affordable price. It was always important for me to stay in a hygienic place and environment and it was definitely
taken care of by Vinod. He even came to meet me at the guest house where we had many interesting conversations and he also taught me basic Hindi. The next day Vinod and Mr. Ravi drove me to Sajjan Niwas to begin my first step to observe the heritage hotel for three days. During the three days, they came to my guest house and would ask me what things I was interested in learning each day and also told me to do things which I liked. They showed great interest and responsible for my internship in India. After that stay, they decided to bring me to Sheraton Rajputana Hotel which was the number one Five Star hotel in Rajasthan. There I received professional training of the Front Office department and the Housekeeping department for three weeks. We started with the basic
training about the general information of the Sheraton Rajputana. After that, I went to different sub-departments for training. Everyday, the office would send one of its staff to teach me and in the meantime they would even give me a chance to practice.

Initially I thought it wasn't easy for me to come to India, but this trip was really worth and I fell in love with this country; India. If given a chance, I would even love to come back here again. I appreciate the time taken by this wonderful man Vinod and his genuine help for the completion of my internship.

World Food Crisis

There has been an acute shortage of food all over the world. I am sure if you run a kitchen you would have noticed the increased budget allotment for food for the past few months.
Here are a few statistics.

According to World food programme,

Rising prices also hamper those in need of humanitarian assistance. WFP issued an emergency appeal to reach the people it originally planned to assist this year. According to WFP, high food prices are pushing 130 million people deeper into poverty and hunger. High food prices are believed to remain high, intensifying concerns about food security and risking a "major setback" in the accomplishment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (WFP).
According to the International Monetary Fund, over the past 12 months global food prices have increased on average by more than 40%. Most experts believe that there is no single driver behind this unprecedented rise in the cost of foodstuffs, but rather that numerous factors threaten the food security and well being of millions of people, particularly the poorest of the poor in the developing world.
Factors cited by experts include: the increased demand for food commodities from developing countries (as a result of population increases and increased consumption of meat), the production of crops for bio-fuels for feeding the red meat, increased costs of transportation, fuel and fertilizer due to the increasing cost of oil, a weakening U.S. currency which increases the effective cost for commodities purchased with dollars, and recurring natural disasters such as drought and flooding.
The world has gone global so the problems also have become global. We are all so interdependent on each other today.
When I was holidaying in EGYPT I saw long queues for the bread. The government here has subsidized the bread to make it available for all its people.
TOP TEN things you can do to go GREEN

Here are 10 frugal ways to incorporate green living into your life without throwing your well laid budget plans to the wind.

1- REDUSE-REUSE-RECYCLE--- Recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminium cans – find out where your nearest recycling centre is (or make a space for a recycling box where convenient in the house and place all items in this box, eliminating repeat trips to distant recycling bins).

2- Save Water-
TAKE A SHOWER INSTEAD OF A BATH--- Did you know that a bath can take up to 190 litres of water? If you give up the bath in favour of a shower just once a week, you can save 45 kgs of CO2 a year. Take a shorter shower if you can.
Water is another source of energy use, particularly when it needs to be heated for showers and washing dishes or laundry. Take shorter showers or put a shut-off valve on the shower to turn it off while soaping, shampooing or shaving. Put a water-saver nozzle on your showerhead and all faucets. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth (a great way to teach kids about not wasting water) or while shaving. Use cold water to wash your clothes (and further reduce your energy use by drying your clothes on a rack or a clothesline).

3- USE PAPER WISELY--- This is the big one. Start printing documents double-sided, save scrap paper to jot notes on, and of course, recycle whenever possible. On the more novel side of things, those offices that still use paper time cards (a huge waste of paper!) should consider going electronic. As a general rule of thumb, if you can move paper correspondence online, then go for it.

4- ELECTRICITY--- Turn off the lights when you leave your room saves a lot of electricity and reduces Co2 emission. Switch off computer. Stand by mode takes a lot of electricity.

5- JOIN A CAR POOL OR CLUB--- Sharing your care journey to the office/work will traffic congestion, wear and tear of your car and also leave less carbon footprints.

6- BORROW INSTEAD OF BUYING--- We can borrow books from the library instead of buying them. this saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing them.

7- CLOTH TYPE--- Wear clothes that don't need dry cleaning. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.

8- BUY LOCAL, BUY IN BULK, USE YOUR OWN SHOPPING BAG--- Your grocery shopping and eating habits use energy, too. Taylor says, “Most food travels 1500 miles from farm to fork. See if you can find food that was not transported from far away.” Many stores carry local produce from neighboring farms. Read the labels on fruits and vegetables to see where they were grown. Buy in bulk and avoid foods that use large amounts of packaging. Buy from the farmers market, co-ops or community supported agriculture when you can. Always take your own cloth bag to the market – plastic is a petroleum product.

9-GET RID OF WATER BOTTLES--- We've known about it for years, but never done a thing. Millions of plastic water bottles are being thrown away daily, and removing them from the office will help! Try using tap water, refilling old bottles, or even buying a water purification device.

10-BUY A GREEN PLUG ( COMING SOON)--- The UN of adapters is coming. In late October, CALIFORNIA'S GREEN PLUG held a conference to bring together the brightest minds to create the mother of all stocking stuffers: the universal adapter. Nothing's final yet, but the diplomatic adapter would work like your regular one, except it would communicate with your electronic device to know what exactly it was plugging into and how many mill watts are needed. As a bonus, when your gadget is powered up to the max, it would shut off, so no power would be wasted.

Go Green and Stay Green.

Till next time

Vinod Meena



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 Volunteer Stories

When I first arrived in India, it felt like every little thing was so different from back home- the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the animals; every moment was a new adventure, and I was always excited to see what would happen next! I volunteered teaching English to rescued child laborers in a rural village near Jaipur.

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