Experiences of Service
It has been quite some time since I have written. Last week, I was dispatched with a medical team to visit a village a day. Each village was about an hour or south of Chennai. We had a team of 5 Doctors and a large supportive staff. Most of them were either from the US or other parts of the world.
The experience was a great learning experience in the “field”. I was fortunate to gain direct knowledge of activities in the village. Some things were heart touching and others quite frustrating. Frustrations arised when we encountered duplication of services amongst NGO’s ( non-govermental organizations – same as what we call non-profits). In some places medical camps were already held, in others there was going to be one the next day. This was according to the villagers. Accurate or not, it was frustrating that there was a great lack of coordination between NGO’s. As simple as this may sound, it is a very complicated task. I have heard such numbers… 200 areas affected… 500-600 NGO’s working in the area! It is a positive that there is a vast amount of help, but in the end it is a matter of whether we have met all the needs of the people and not just the immediate needs.
However, the positives outshine all else. It was a great honor working with about 15 selfless people, willing to do any task in the glaring sun. It was great to hear the stories of sharing between all the villagers. For example, one village consisting of 106 houses was only approved by the government, based on damage assessment, to recieve money for 81 houses out of 106. 81 houses recieved 4,000 rupees each as initial compensation . These villagers whose houses are no longer in living conditions, whose tvs, furniture, boats, clothes have been destroyed… who are now living in make do tents with tarp and plant materials.. do you know what they did?? The 81 houses pooled all the money together and divided it by 106… and spread the money amongst all the families. Now that is really sharing… sharing when you really do not have much left. As I stood in the midst of the destroyed houses, and saw the vision of the “houses” made by the road… a moment of silence circulated within me trying to grasp the concept.
Such are my experiences of service…
Love Karuna :)