MY VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE TRIP TO MAHABALESHWAR
I have always loved travelling, because of which I make it a point to take frequent short trips to destinations around India, specifically hill stations. One of the nearest hill stations to Pune is Mahabaleshwar. The journey by road is not too long, due to which I go there quite often. With lush greenery, magnificent waterfalls, and a beautiful view of the valley the journey is a pleasant one. However, as more tourists travel there, more garbage piles up on the sides of the road. This is harmful to the environment and also takes away from the scenery around. On one of my trips there, I noticed this issue and decided to conduct a cleanup drive on the road from Pune to Mahabaleshwar. This was truly one of the most enriching volunteer trip experiences I have been on.
After announcing this plan to my friends, a few of them volunteered to be part of the drive. There were a total of 6 of us for the drive, and we decided to rent a car and drive to the hill station. We also planned to stay there for a night and explore the hill station, so we had a small bag of overnight clothes. There were also other arrangements to be made, such as buying disposable gloves, garbage bags, and sticks to pick up garbage. Once we had everything we needed, we left early in the morning for our community service. Since the road was quite narrow, we decided to space ourselves out on the road, rather than gathering in one place. On our way to the hill station, we cleaned half of the way and cleaned the other half on our way back. There were even a few others who stopped and helped us for a while. Once we reached Mahabaleshwar, we went to various tourist spots and had a bonfire night at the resort where we stayed. It was a fun experience travelling with friends and exchanging volunteer experience stories with each other, and making a difference at the same time.
Being a nature lover, I feel a certain responsibility towards the environment and always try to do my bit. Because of my frequent trips to Mahabaleshwar, I could visibly notice the degradation in the environment each time I went there. Most people do not realize that their small amount of littering contributes to the building up of garbage, which is unhealthy for the environment around it. This deeply saddened me and motivated me to do what little I could.
India has many such places that are polluted with garbage and could use some cleaning up, even if not by the authorities. The next time you go for a weekend trip, carry some garbage bags and gloves and clean up a small portion of the road. It will only cost you an hour’s delay, but even this small effort is a boon to our environment. There are also several volunteer trips that you could conduct, by making a concrete plan of action. These trips are a mix of responsibility and fun, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and satisfied with your effort.
A large group of people would require a car that can accommodate many people and luggage as well, since the garbage collected would have to be dropped off at the nearest collection point. Since nobody in our group owned an SUV, we decided to rent a car. Pune Tours was recommended to us by a friend. We chose the particular car we wanted and were provided with a clean and comfortable car at an affordable rate.