Five Special Volunteers
(Last Saturday, five special volunteers….Gaurav, Neerav, Roshni, Trushna, and Brian…came all the way from the Bay Area to spend there Saturday volunteering at the Seva Cafe. Below are some of their stories.)
I had been looking forward to the trip down to LA to work at the Seva
CafÃ© since a few weeks ago when the idea was first conceived. As much
as I’d like to say I was coming solely for selfless reasons, I have to
say that I was also very much looking forward to all the love and
goodness that I am always so fortunate to receive when doing seva. I
had been a little tired out from getting up early for the drive down,
but as soon as we met up with all the BTC/Seva CafÃ© folks and I saw
how energetic and enthusiastic they were, I was definitely pumped up
to serve. My first task was washing dishes, which I had been informed
was one of the most coveted jobs. I then moved on to preparing food,
which I have to say was a great honor. I don’t know what it is, but I
just love to feed others with food made with my own hands. There’s
just something about being able to provide nourishment, good wholesome
food, to someone else, and I was privileged to have the opportunity.
I’ve always wanted to work in a restaurant as a cook or server, but it
always seemed too intense and stressful for me. I like to take my
time. While others were able to put together three sandwiches in the
same time it took me to make one sandwich, I was grateful that they
were patient with me and that they allowed me to help. Being in the
kitchen most of the time, I did not get to speak to many of the guests
who came into the cafÃ©; however, I did get to observe how hard working
all the other servers and volunteers were, and that was amazing in and
of itself. There were some who worked both shifts without any break
at all. There were others whom I had to keep reminding to take a
break and to have a bite themselves. How many people can say they
work in a place where workers fight over who gets to wash the dishes
or where you have to force servers to take breaks because they’re just
enjoying their work that much? I was definitely inspired by all of
these people. After the CafÃ© closed its doors, after every last dish
was cleaned, and after every last spot was cleaned off the floors, the
acts of seva continued on. We were hosted by Manuri at her home and
were served food and drinks by her and all the other BTC folks. In
India, there’s a saying that you must treat every guest as God because
he could walk through your door in any shape or form. I definitely
felt that spirit in LA and was truly blessed. Thank you for the
opportunity to both serve and to be served.
It was such a pleasure and fortune to be at the Seva Cafe this past weekend. I had heard about the cafe in India but never got to experience it. But, seeing it in action in Long Beach made me understand the amazing concept it represents. Besides the excitement and the joy of seeing everyone give so much without any expectation in return – one thing stood out.
Hearing Laura describe the Muthi Annadaan program of Manav Sadhna (its a program where 60 widows receive grains for the month with lots of respect) took me back to India and more importantly, to a higher understanding. I had been fortunate enough to see the program so many times, but never before had I ever heard it described with such love and emotion. It made me understand the true meaning of why anyone starts efforts like these. They have so much passion, love and care behind them. Being at Seva Cafe and listening to Laura made me realize that again and see that how Seva Cafe is having similar effects on many.
Also, a huge thank you to the entire BTC team and volunteers for making this idea into reality in US.
Well after a rather drawn out drive home (mostly due to the heavy post weekend traffic) we arrived home last night around 11:30. Gaurav, estimated that we were out for about 46 hrs from when we left home (pretty impressive:). Anyways I wanted to thank you (and all the other volunteers so Sukh, please feel free to forward this to anyone else) for such a wonderful weekend. It never fails to amaze me how warm the welcome is when we come down regardless of how long we are there. Thanks to everyone for helping us coordinate the weekend (without Sukh knowing) and thanks to Manuri for opening her home and being such a wonderful host. One person I did not get to thank is Manuri’s roommate who not only allowed us to stay, but for also allowing us to have the Seva Cafe afterparty…so Manuri, please convey that message. Sri, can you forward us the email address for Sudi so we can email our reactions, thoughts, and impressions of this experience? Thanks again and I’ve already started planning my next trip (which won’t be a secret:).
We arrived into LA around 11am and already my excitement had doubled. My mind kept wondering just how beautiful the cafe would be, what I’d be doing, and how it will be great to meet such giving people. Once I was there things began to pick up fast, everyone took their roles and smiles were spreading fast! Getting to know everyone was half the fun of
the cafe. Connecting with like minded people is always so refreshing and inspiring.
I also had the pleasure to experience the cafe as a guest earlier before things picked up for the night. It was wonderful being served with such love and compassion. What made this experience so different is that I knew that the server was being nice because of who they simply were not because they had to be there or were getting paid to be polite. That made me really appreciate what was on my plate and what was being given to me. Working at the cafe we were told the signifcance and purpose of the cafe but I don’t think I really got the concept until I was given the bill. ALL ZEROS!! I stepped back from myself in that moment and if felt like nothing I had experienced before. The gratefulness of the universe was before me and I was a very blessed person to have had such a moment before me. Giving is something I feel comes naturally for humans and it’s moments like this that it flows so abundantly within us.
The experience, interactions, and the opportunity to give were amazing! I’m so very grateful and blessed to have had the opprotunity to serve at the Seva Cafe
with such big hearted loving people. Thank you all for welcoming us with such love! Manuri thanks for opening your home to us!!
Trushna : )