Volunteer Review – Gabrielle Barbosa

I decided to come to Ananda Valley because I was a little lost in my personal projects, I was physically and mentally exhausted.
I was looking for adventure and wanted to get involved in a volunteer project, a project that I felt was not only beneficial for me, but for other people too.
At first I wanted to come to Portugal through an association that takes care of sending volunteers to the Erasmus project, but the volunteers for Ananda had already been chosen.
So I applied for a volunteer in Spain and was accepted, but at the last moment I gave up for personal reasons.
A few weeks later I received a proposal to apply as a volunteer for Ananda because the volunteers who would come had given up. I saw the project and thought it fit perfectly with what I was looking for, with my convictions and my needs. So I applied and was accepted, certainly not by chance. Ananda Valley helped me to discover a new way of life, sustainable and healthy. I have another vision of the world and people.
I try to see life with new perspectives. For sure it helped me with my personal evolution thanks to meditation and the kirtan, it showed me that yes it is possible to eat delicious healthy and vegetarian foods. It is a unique and amazing experience. The people are adorable and I feel very comfortable and welcome in the community. We all have something to offer and sometimes it’s small things that don’t mean big things to us, but stopping other people does. Coming from French Guyana is a novelty for them because many do not know. I think presenting my culture, helping with the activities, and being an example to them of how this project is necessary and the project is worthwhile.
The project changes people. I hope that they will continue with the volunteer project and realize all the objectives of Ananda Valley.
Before coming here I didn’t have a vegetarian regime, nor vegan and here I had to adopt this regime and with some extra restrictions.
The language was a challenge because I speak little English and here everyone speaks English. But until my adaptation was done naturally and without many difficulties. For me, proximity to nature, working with agriculture, having the river nearby is amazing. 70% of the food we consume comes from the plantation. Life is easy and simple. We see the world with other eyes. People are welcoming, and they transmit peace, we learn from each other always.
This place is a place of love and peace and of much personal and spiritual learning. I came here to discover a new way of life and to have a personal development. Ananda has given me incredible experiences. Culture shock is inevitable. The ecological and sustainable way of life I will take to Guiana and try to apply in my life.
The vegetarian food for sure I will apply in my life and try to share and make more people aware. Meditation, yoga and Kirtan are unique experiences.
The moments of Kirtan for me were the ones that touched me the most, the mantra and the positive energy that we feel, are unforgettable moments and sensations. Living close to nature, preserving and cultivating is very satisfying.
I think that everyone should live an enriching experience like this at Ananda. Ananda is love, peace, unity and personal and spiritual development. It seems that we live in a parallel reality and that life is simple and easy. This experience has marked me and I am going back to renewed Guyana. I hope to maintain the bonds I created with other volunteers and people from Ananda.
I just have to thank for each person who welcomed me, helped me and made this volunteer experience memorable. Love is the essence of everything that exists!