In the tsunami camps

2 January 2005 — Alapphuza District, Kerala

Vivek, an ashramite from Japan, was very happy to be part of a team sent to clean a tsunami relief camp in the Alappuzha. There, the Ashram team removed garbage, dug pits for waste and temporary toilets, swept and cleaned patios and toilets.

There were many in the different teams—Vivek from Japan, Prashant and Achyut from America, Nicholas is Switzerland…. What motivated them to engage in work that many run from? The answer is Amma and the example set by her life.

All of them were happy to be serving. In fact, they said that they were overjoyed. “More than the work, it was the oppurtunity to serve, to be able to smile and spread love—to do what Amma does,” said Achyut.

“And we didn’t just work. We also played with the children. They are so innocent and it is amazing how the people have adjusted and adapted themselves to the situation. Back in the West, our life is so cosmetic. For the past few days we had been stuck in the relief camps, hearing news of all the desruction and sorrow, but we had not been really able to do much. This was an oppurtunity to do something, ” added another worker.

Maybe they went to give but they definitely got something too. As Amma says, when one uses natural resources there is a depletion, but when one uses their God-given talents—gives of themselves—there is an expansion, a growth. Love, when given, grows. They may have gone as strangers, but when it was time to wind up and return to the Ashram, they left as friends.

The teams went to NRPM Higher Secondary School in Kayamkulam, Madambil School in Kundallur, SNDP Audiorium in Kundallur and Muthukulam High School in Velanchira.