ME to WE has lodges around the world that focus on making connections with local people and helping with sustainable development projects. One of our personal favorites is ME to WE Lodge: Araveli in India. It’s the epitome of travel with a purpose. Asia Expert and talented photographer, Louise recently had the pleasure of experiencing it for herself, this is what she was most inspired by.
Araveli luxury tents and cottages are surrounded by tranquil countryside and in the heart of the Araveli mountains. Not only will your stay here contribute greatly to the local communities, but you’ll find the experience educational and incredibly heartwarming.
Immerse yourself in India’s vibrant and colorful culture while taking part in amazing hands-on experiences. You’ll get a real insight into how local people live while knowing your stay is contributing greatly to the surrounding villages. Your stay here includes a selection of activities in a customized program made and designed around you. Rather than volunteering, which takes away local jobs, it’s about community building and creating better business for local people as well as improved healthcare.
Some examples of activities that I loved are:
Build a well in the village or try carrying the water above your head from the reservoir to a local Indian’s home, it’s trickier than it looks!
Visit the school that ME to WE supports to help with building projects or to do some mural paintings. Expect to have very excited kids pointing at you and coming up to you. Please don’t give the children gifts yourself, but if you do want to bring them a little treat, give them to your camp host. They can then give the stationary/toys to the teachers who will give them out as a reward for doing well at school. This is done to prevent the children from thinking that if they see a westerner they’ll get gifts, so people can experience how genuine and loving the children are already.
Visit a local woman’s house to understand a day in her world and the challenges she has to face. She’ll ask your host questions about you and you can ask questions back. On my visit her children were so excited when they heard I was visiting that they stayed behind from school and were so charming and giggly.
Relax and enjoy yoga every morning, it’s the perfect way to really detach from modern technology to just pause and enjoy life.
You can start your stay with a Hindi lesson or a cultural/history lesson on the caste system, social issues in the region, and religion.
Visit Kumbhalgarh Fort, the second largest wall in the world after the great wall of china, and much less visited.