Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Four Months Later - Feeding the Hungry in India

My dear friends,

I started a blog and wrote to you all April 21st regarding my intention to start feeding people, with the dream to feed one thousand hungry people every day. Four months have passed. We began feeding people on May 27th. We tried to go daily, but the work of cutting vegetables and cooking for 150 people was too exhausting. We reduced to three times weekly. Now we go out either two or three times weekly, depending on availability of funds. For the period July-August we fed three thousand people. But, it is not enough.

We feed the adivasis (tribals) who stay on the tea plantations just outside of Siliguri. Some say that they are the poorest people in Siliguiri, What we learned is that of all the people we’ve fed so far, they are the most noble and dignified. They quietly and seriously come and take the sal leaves filled with rice and vegetables. Sometimes one will tip her head as a way of saying thank you. Then they walk a ways and sit down in circles on the ground and eat their rice together. It is heart-warming to see. They do not know who we are. Still we did not spend money to get a sign or banner to put on our rickshaw identifying ourselves as Hearts Healing Hunger. So for four months we have been going out completely anonymously to feed the hungry. It is a good feeling. I wish even just one of you could come here and experience that good feeling.

We also go to the New Jalpaiguri Train Station to feed the coolies and beggars. The first time they were undisciplined, twice knocking the rice off the spoon and sending it all over the rickshaw, thrusting their bowls right in our faces. Finally we gave up and left. But, I took it as a personal challenge and we returned the next week. First the coolies came, Then the same unruly beggars came. But by a miracle, this time they controlled themselves, standing along the rickshaw and holding their bowls, waiting for the rice. They had huge smiles on their faces. I felt, they knew I wanted to feed them.

Sometimes we go on the back roads to a poor village. The people live in houses made of bamboo mats. I don’t know how they are protected from the heavy monsoon rains. Yesterday we went to such a village. The people were the poorest we’ve seen. The large pots of rice and vegetables were finished in a heartbeat and many did not get food. They told us to return Friday and to bring clothes also. What to do?? The demand is so great here. It pulls hard at the heart to see these people and to try and figure out how to meet their urgent demands at the earliest. What kind of world is this that millions starve while other millions live in plenty? What kind of world is this that the hungry are completely forgotten by the affluent, the middle class, the media and most of all by the politicians? What kind of world is this that due to extreme poverty women have not only gnawing hunger in their bellies but only a thin piece of cloth to cover themselves? And what kind of world is this that we all forget our suffering brothers and sisters and move on with our peaceful, happy lives? This all has to change. We need to change the entire economic structure such that economic power rests with the local people and not with central governments. We need to change the political structure such that compassionate moralists come to power and take care of all local economic deprivations immediately.

Regular soundbites are now telling about the starvation deaths of adivasis in the tea gardens two-three hours north of here, particularly in the Dooars region near the Bhutan border. In the past ten years thousands of adivasis have silently starved to death. Is it not mad to move on with our peaceful happy lives in the very face of thousands of starving and dying human beings that rock India’s moral fabric to the core?

I request you, if you cannot feed these people yourselves, then please help me to feed them. Please send funds. We need additional funds now that will enable us to go north one time weekly to the closed tea gardens to bring the people food and to further study how we can help them. We need funds so that we can increase our feeding trips from two-three times a week to four-five times a week. This is a project that needs immediate, urgent expansion. As I wrote before, while we work to bring humanity from present oppression to future liberation, please let us feed the people. It is the first order of business. It is our bounden duty to feed our hungry brothers and sisters.

You can send funds through the website via Paypal. You can send a check made out to “Hearts Healing Hunger” to Nancy Burgin, PO Box 533, Silver Grover, Kentucky, USA 41085. If in India you can send to the Hearts Healing Hunger bank account at Axis Bank, Account Number 910010027551810, Siliguri, West Bengal. For those sending from outside India please use Swift Code AXIS INB035. Funds can also be sent from outside India directly to Siliguri via Western Union. Please write me for details.

If you feel to send in kind, we need rice and dal urgently. That is, all kinds of dried beans. We also need powdered milk and dessicated coconut, which we put in the rice to increase the food’s nutritional value. We also need oil and spices. These are the very basics. If you have old clothes you no longer need, please send them to us. If you like to buy cloth, we will distribute it for you. Many other useful items are listed on the site in the section “How You Can Help.”

A recent article by Jay Janson states that one million people starve to death annually in India. At the same time the Indian Parliament is discussing a “right to food” bill that would guarantee every needy person 30 kilos of grains per month. It is in discussion stage only. In the meantime, let us all feed the people. And if you are too busy to do so, then I am requesting you, please help me to feed the people. Please send cash in the way easiest for you. Otherwise, please send in kind. The needs are too great. The abundance of food in the US is too great. We need to take some of that abundance and bring it here to India. Just help me to do this work, brothers and sisters. I am waiting to hear from you.


Garda Ghista
Tel-India: 98510 90212
Skype: garda.ghista

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