Disclaimer: This story I’m about to tell wasn’t inspired by the Book/Movie …Eat, Pray, Love. I never heard of the book until I moved to Bali. It’s just a coincidence that I live in Bali and went to India. If anything I learned how to Pray in Bali and found love in India 🙂
To the story….About 2 years ago I left (more like given the boot) a 9 marriage. That experience rocked me to the core. In my 35 short years of life I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced a more dark period, with exception of the death of my father. I thought all had been lost. I was so full of anger, resentment, jealousy, self justification, and pride. I would not let go of what was happening. I had to fix it some how some way.
I tried everything I possibly could to quell the insanity that was running around in my head as result of our separation. I tried it all, prayer, no prayer, talking to everyone, isolating, chain smoking cigarettes, exercising fanatically, and surfing. None of it was working. From sun up to sun down I was constantly obsessing over our past and our future, never present for the moment. The tape recorder WOULD NOT STOP. It was impossible for me to the see the real problem with what happened between us. That problem? ME.
After about 3 months of trying to use external things to fix me, I finally realized that my whole life was about what I could get out of life as opposed to what I could bring to the world. The solution? Helping others was the way forward!
Enter our good friend Tim Bradley. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Tim about my situation a little and mentioned I was headed to Bangalore for work.
He smiled and said “I have just the opportunity for you?”
I said “O yeah what’s that?”
Tim replied “You need to meet my friend Latha. She is my main point of contact in Bangalore for Starving People. You should help her run some missions. It’s the purest form of getting out of yourself”
I didn’t hesitate for moment. I said “Yes please put us in touch!”
And so he did. Thank God he did. I could write another blog post about Latha altogether. In short, Ms. Latha. is a GIANT amongst men. Latha meditates 56 minutes at 11pm every night and 56 minutes every morning at 4am. Think about that ?! 2 hours a day, everyday! Talk about being centered.
She’s an entrepreneur who runs two different businesses that consist of distributing everyday goods to local shops. When she’s not working she spends time with her 11 year old son. Her other passion is helping out her fellow Indians who are in desperate need of help.
Our first job upon my arrival was to help out a girls orphanage. The orphanage is called Ashadeep. It houses 53 girls ranging from the ages of 3 – 18. They are taken there by their families to protect them from abuse by fellow family members or people in the community. The girls are housed and educated at Ashadeep until they are 18. At which point they are sent on to University.
Our mission was to help supply them with clothing and bedding. And so we went. Latha and I went to the orphanage and got list of items they needed. Next we hit the market. Man you should have seen Latha negotiate. She was a lion. I need to take her on my next car purchase. It’s possible I’d walk off the lot with a free car with her by my arm.
Here’s a list of what we purchased as well as some pictures from the shopping spree:
– 106 pairs of underwear
– 40 bras
– 20 long shirts for girls attending university
– 53 slips
– 30 blankets
Total Cost : $250 US Dollars ….Smiles on these girls faces??? PRICELESS
Guys/Gals I can’t tell you the joy these young ladies had. Living a life almost completely devoid of all the luxurious pleasures we are blessed with they have a happiness that MONEY CAN NOT buy. After giving them the clothes, Latha and I hung out with them for lunch. It was such a truly amazing experience. One after another would come up to us, with enourmous smiles, and ask us questions about who we were, where we were from, what we did for fun. It was such an awesome experience to be able to help these young ladies. For that brief 30 minutes I was able experience true happiness that wasn’t a result of some external thing. But more on what I mean by that at the end of this blog post.
Hang in with me…we’re almost there. Next up? Mission 2…feed 40 starving families in a village 2 hours outside of Bangalore. The community we visited was 1 of 11 that makes up an entire area they call Panchayat. The Panchayat is like a local chamber of commerce. The Panchayat is responsible for every aspect of the 11 villages, taxes, licensing for new businesses, food, water etc. Latha had friend on the board that suggested we visit one of these villages.
The community leader had picked out 40 of the most desperate families for us to feed. Below is the town square of the village.
For $500 US we were able to purchase the following food:
>> 400 kilograms of rice
>> 100 kilograms Dal – base for the curry
>> 40 kilograms of sugar
>> 40 kilograms jaggery
>> 40 kilograms salt
>> 80 liters of oil
>> 40 kilogram beaten rice
We spent the day going to door to door and giving food out to the poorest families. The conditions were pretty shocking. Most of the families were living a super small space sometimes sleeping up to 6 – 8 per room.
Almost all the men were gone for the day working for a daily wage of $3. They worked in the local nearby factories while the women stayed home.
THE WOMAN PICTURED BELOW WAS BASICALLY LEFT TO FEND FOR HERSELF BY HER KIDS. HER CONDITION WAS SO BAD THAT SHE COULD NOT STAND UP. HER DAUGHTER LIVED IN A NICE BIG HOUSE IN FRONT OF THIS SHACK SHE WAS LIVING IN. HER DAUGHTER WOULD COME BY DAILY TO FEED HER BUT WAS RESTRICTED BY HER HUSBAND TO DO ANYTHING MORE.
PICTURE OF THE TEAM ….THE LOCAL COMMUNITY LEADERS, LATHA, AND MYSELF.
One final comment. Guys/Gals we walked into a household that consisted of two women. I can not describe the situation any better than dire. There were no men of the household. Just a mom and daughter doing the best they could to survive. When we walked into the house we were met by the mom. She was shaking from head to toe. She looked liked she was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. She started to explain the situation to Latha when her daughter walked in. As soon as the daughter started to speak she began to cry. She explained to us that because her mom was so sick that she had to quit school to help her mom. They were doing the best they could to scrape together a few dollars each day to feed themselves. I actually had to walk out of the house as it was too emotional. I’ve decided to make pledge to help these two women. I’m asking for your help. Their names are:
Sujata & Sunita:
1. Food for 1 year = $1,200
2. Education for Sunita for 1 year = $800
3. Medical bills for the mother Sujata for 1 year = $480
Total expenses for 1 year = $2,480
Please donate whatever you can to help these women. Once we hit our goal, Feed Starving People will setup an online journal of how things are progressing for these women.Thank you for reading this far. Please leave a comment or better yet a donation. To donate please “click the go fund me button” below. 🙂