By Benjamin Ziemens

When I went to India in August 2009 for my internship, I was not yet acquainted with the country or the Glory Foundation. After I landed in Bangalore in the middle of the night, I was collected at the airport by a friend of the Foundation's director. We arrived at 4 am in the little village at the city's periphery where the two storey building of the Foundation is situated. Here, Dass Arockriam gave me warm welcome and after a few minutes of pleasurable conversation, he showed me to my room where I slept soundly until afternoon. At the time of my arrival, only two mentally handicapped people lived at the residence, Imthiaz and Santosh. These two, Dass and me were the sole occupants of the house. In the first 3 to 4 days, I had to get accustomed to my new environment because I had expected something different.  There was no set program for the day and no structure, only the meal times were fixed. Adapting to this took me some time. But I gradually settled in the project and started to enjoy its domestic character and could bring myself increasingly in. There were many interesting conversations with Dass about India, social work with handicapped people and many other topics. After I had overcome an initial diffidence I warmed to this "family." My tasks included taking care of the house's occupants, playing with them and helping Dass with his work. There was, however, also time to take days off to visit the city. After three weeks, two new occupants arrived. From then onwards, I was working almost constantly since one of the new arrivants was a hyperactive child who kept me busy, especially at the beginning. I established a very good relationship to the occupants who all became dear to me. In retrospect, I am very happy to have done this internship in a small family-like institution, and not in a larger one with more staff and more residents. It allowed me to get into close contact with all people involved and to experience INdia from a totally unusual angle. We had much fun together and I had a very nice and enriching time which I would not have missed. Thus, I regretted to leave the Foundation at the end of my internship. But I am staying in contact with Dass and have a wealth of fond memories.