13 February 2005 — Lechakkupam, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu
Amma had been visiting tsunami relief camps from the morning itself. Many a times those with Her had tried to get Her to cut short Her programme in some way, but Amma was not open to suggestions—She just said, “You don’t understand their sorrow.”
The programme at Akkaraipettai ended; there was a mad scramble for the vehicles, which were to go with Amma—a usual sight at all programmes! Amma’s vehicle was in the lead. Suddenly it turned off the route and headed into a small hamlet,Lechakkuppam—some people from there had invited Amma during Her programme at the last place and Amma had agreed to visit them.
Amma’s car stopped in front of a small Kali temple at around 12:30 in the night. She was greeted by the village headmen and some others with reverence. Amma was invited into the temple where the villagers started voicing their woes. They had lost everything—some their family members,most their sole means of livelihood—their boats and nets; they were also a bit afraid to venture into the sea again. The government and some NGOs had provided basic amenities and some monetary aid but the future still presented a bleak picture—they knew no other profession, no other means of making a livelihood. They were a strong, independent people and did not take easily to the idea of losing the freedom that their profession had granted them. As in Kerala, the fishermen there too worked on a share basis—the owner took a fixed share of the profit and the balance was distributed amongst the rest in an equitable fashion.
When they talked of their woes their voices were choked with emotion—the helplessness of those who see no future was apparent in their tones. But still they didn’t ask Amma for anything. Amma’s eyes too filled with tears, all those who were there felt the sorrow of these people, more so because it was presented in such a dignified and restrained manner.
Amma told them that She had been under the impression that other organizations were looking after the needs of the people there and so She had already made commitments to help in other parts of the country and Sri Lanka—but still She would do what She could.
In reply to Amma’s words these simple villagers said, “Amma, you have made commitments to help others—let your word stand true. We just need your blessings. We are sure that if your blessings are there then everything will turn out right.” These were words of people who were meeting Amma for the first time, who knew little about Her. They had not read Amma’s biography, they had not read books of Amma’s teachings, they did not know of the extent of Amma’s charitable activities,but still their hearts told them all that there was to know if Amma’s blessings were there all would turn out fine!