This blog has been written by Caitlin, based at one of the Oasis Community hubs in Chennai.
As we travelled down to Kanigapuram in our rickety auto for the first time I couldn’t help but feel such a heart-sinking helplessness at the levels of poverty I could see around me. Arriving outside the Oasis building we were based at, I struggled to comprehend how Oasis could do the amazing work they do in such a building. However, as soon as we were welcomed into the building the atmosphere changed completely. Our first session was a creativity session with a group of ladies on a sixth month tailoring course, this was a session which I had planned and I was pretty nervous as to how it would be received, however, from the moment we met the ladies their joy and graciousness was so apparent. There was a pretty mighty language barrier between us and them but that didn’t stop their happiness and generosity from shining through. Throughout the three sessions we had with the tailoring group, their curiosity for life, determination and genuine happiness became more and more obvious and from the little knowledge that I shared with these women, I gained a lifetime of wisdom. We talked about inspiration, our dreams and passions, we encouraged one another and we danced together – despite our inability to say more than a few words to one another, we quickly formed an amazing bond with these beautiful, talented and creative women. They taught me how to be generous, kind and courageous and how to have a lust for life despite what circumstances you find yourself in. I have never experienced a joy like the joy of these women and I’m so grateful to have been able to spend even a small amount of time with them!