A Visitor’s Notebook – The flood aftermath

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Chandra 1 Comment

As many who follow Golden Avatar’s posts and newsletters will know, this year’s monsoon brought with it the worst flood in fifteen years. Although facing many challenges themselves, even the kids rallied together with the rest of the Golden Avatar team and, along with the help of donors worldwide, managed not to make a meal of the situation (pun intended), but indeed many! See more about all this here, here and here.

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One month after the flood, I arrived back in Nabadwip to rejoin the crew. Although the waters had subsided, there were a host of other challenges for many of the residents of the area. The cost of food, together with the fact that many had been out of work for weeks, pollution and damage to homes caused by the flood were among those.

One young girl from grade 9 of Golden Avatar School, Monisha, had only just been able to return home after spending weeks in a small storefront by the main road. Whenever I saw her, there was always a smile on her face, even though she and her family were living in an uncomfortable situation for so long. I never once heard her complain about anything. Such a beautiful spirit she has!

Growing up in a country near the equator—where the weather is pretty much the same all-year round—I myself have never experienced a flood. In my home country, there are many facilities such as canals and drains which had been built to contain the water and drain it away properly. Even to avoid any disruptions to daily activities of the citizens, there are abundant sheltered walkways, bus-stops and train stations. Yet we are never satisfied and always complaining about one thing or another.

I was delayed in getting my Indian visa and only arrived in Nabadwip after the flood had subsided. Actually, I think it was more than a coincidence—God was protecting me. He knows that I would not have been able to tolerate the difficulties had I been here. Hearing these stories of hardship which these residents had to go through brought tears to my eyes and saddened my heart. At the same time, I also saw their wonderful spirit, courage and the smiles on their faces—despite all they were going through.

Two dear sweet friends of the whole Golden Avatar crew, a retired couple from the USA,  spend several months each year here in Nabadwip. Their home is located in the less developed part of town and on lower ground. They too had to evacuate their homes to escape the flood. Still they were lucky to have help. Even when the flood had subsided and left a stinky mess in their house, their neighbours helped to clean it, despite having their own homes to attend to. What big and kind hearts these people have!

A number of times, when the crew from Golden Avatar went out distributing blessed vegetarian food in the hot sun, I went along and took some photos. The crew included students who had been affected by the flood—and here they are, helping to distribute food to others in need. That, in itself, shows the wonderful characters and generous nature of these kids. I felt so humbled watching them serve and help their fellow countryfolk. I also saw how grateful the people were when the food was brought to them. Many of them were elderly or out of work due to the flood. This simple act of kindness is literally saving their lives. The food distribution still goes on every day and we intend to continue, as long as donations keep coming in.

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All this got me thinking about the amount of food wastage that I see every day in my home country and wish that my countrymen can see what I see here and stop wasting food. It also made me feel so sad that in one country, there are so many people willing to pay for eat-as-much-as-you-can buffets in expensive restaurants (and not finishing what they put on their plates), while in another country many people are starving simply for want of food. Greed and sensual indulgence is so prevalent in the world nowadays and it is so totally unnecessary. One may spend around US$20 on a meal in a first-world country, and it may not sound like a lot of money, but with that same amount of money, it can feed a huge number of people here in Nabadwip. I may not be able to stop global warming or stop world hunger, but I am determined to make a few simple changes in my life to minimise consumption and continue to help these needy kids and families here. I hope that, together with all your help around the world, we can keep their beautiful spirits alive and truly wipe away their flood of tears.

Damayanti dasi

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One Comment

  1. Lalit kishore
    2 years ago

    Nice realizations. Amazing people.
    Hope all goes well in future. Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

    Reply

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