Sometimes the vastness of suffering in this world can seem overwhelming. But rather than be overwhelmed, we can choose to do something. We can choose to make a difference in this world...One step at a time. Or in this case, why not three steps!
On our recent visit to India we were heartened to find so much kindness where, on the surface, there seemed to be so much struggle. We were so warmly welcomed by just about everyone we crossed paths with that choosing where to put our energies was tough. We settled on three avenues...
There is Rama, a fisherman and father of three daughters in the coastal town of Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. We met him on the beach predawn as he humbly approached us asking if we would like to come by his "store" and see his goods. "Only look. No buy," he said with bright eyes downcast with a sort of guarded embarrassment. His warmth was evident and we followed him to his home. We're like that, I guess. I suspect you are too.
In short, he introduced us to his wife and children who greeted us with smiles, tea and openness. We are now friends.
Rama never asked for anything. He pined over having to sell his boat years ago to make ends meet and no longer being able to fish. This left him with selling fabrics and trinkets on the beach for the 150 rupees ($3USD) a day he needed to feed his family. One day at a time. With a boat, he thought, he could once again provide more for his family. "Best father in the world" is how his daughters described him. Let's get him the boat.
Then there is Mobin. He was our taxi driver from Allahabad to Varanasi. A "new thinking" man whos idea of happiness for others is simply let them follow their own path and be kind to them.
It cost us over $100 for that cab ride...He makes $800 a year, in a good year. He also has three daughters and a wife. I can't put into words the gentleness and goodness this man showed us through word and deed over the few days we spent together. He also never asked for anything other than "Please don't forget me. We will see you next time, my friends"...Hugging us tightly.
One thing that sticks out to me was when he said all he wanted was for his daughters to get an education. To have a better life than his. "My life will be nothing and I accept that. I do not accept the same for my daughters." Later that same day as we discussed leaving India soon, he lamented, "I will never know what it is like to fly on a plane." Think about that. Money is not the end-all in this life, but I bet over a year's salary would mean the world to this gentleman.
And finally, the Elkanah Children's Orphanage... As we walked the tiny streets of Mamallapuram, we came upon this place. We went in without knowing how or what we could do for them, only that we wanted to do something good that day. We ended up spending two afternoons with these wonderful kids. Bright eyes substituting for empty bellies, and dancing and singing in the place of new clothes, or even electricity...or families.
The reverend at the orphanage did not ask for money. He asked if we could help with food. Just food. 10 kilos of this and 10 kilos of that. Not the world, just what was needed.
We fell in love with these kids. We may not be able to change their lives for the better, but we can make today a bit better...
There is so much in this world to do...But we gotta start somewhere...So how 'bout $1000USD each for these three great causes in a sea of many....
Much love! Namaskar. Namaste.
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- marie verschueren
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