Yesterday our team came back from distributing food when it was already dark. As expected, the water level was about the same but they got wet from head to toe because the rain was pouring down on them. It also became a bit chilly now because the sun has been covered by clouds for two days now. They told that people were just waiting for someone to come and bring food. Many opened the boxes on the spot and started eating. They even asked if they could have another box right away, it had been too long that they had eaten warm potatoes.
It is due to the bad conditions there now, the water from the river in the houses and the rain water falling down from the dark clouds, that several families finally decided to leave their houses and roofs and find shelter. They had wanted to stay near their houses so that nobody steals their belongings but now it has become very difficult to live on the roof.
A high school not too far away from there, where I have also spent one year of learning, has stopped its classes and instead of teaching students, they offered families to live in the classrooms until the water retreats again. Many people found shelter there and Yashendu and Purnendu were asked to go there, too, to distribute food.
While they were waiting for the boat to take them back to the car, they were again told that someone had been there to distribute food but that people got ill from it. They asked who that was and if people had not noticed before eating and they found out that it is a very big organization in Vrindavan that has a big machine for making roti, the typical Indian flat bread. This organization distributed bread made by this machine and people found it inedible. It was not fully and properly baked and additionally it had caught moisture on the way to the flooded area. The bread was sticky, unbaked but people were hungry, so they started eating. Whoever ate a full piece of bread felt sick and either threw it back up or had diarrhea later. The next time that this organization came, people refused to take anything and sent them back with their half-baked bread.
I really feel bad about this and would advise such big organizations to think again: how much flour and water have you wasted in this way? And what are you thinking? Just because these people are poor, they eat anything? I believe a machine can never make food as nicely as a person’s hand can. And here at our Ashram people are happy that they have a job like rolling bread by hand and baking it. The whole day people here were sitting and rolling, my mother included. We made puri though, fried bread which is richer and cannot go bad easily. We made it fresh, packed it and brought it there right away. People enjoyed there and we also ate the same potato dish in the evening.
If you want to help, if you want to give anything to someone, I believe you should give only, what you would also like to get in this person’s circumstances. You give food that you would also eat and you also give clothes that you might wear, too. You may not like the colour or shape or you don’t fit in anymore and this is how you give it away but you would not give someone torn and dirty clothes as a present, would you? There is this popular saying ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and I believe this is one of the most important rules to follow.