In ServiceSpace we talk about Multiple Forms of Wealth, Gift Ecology or Many to Many networks/connections. All this is proving to be of tremendous value during this crisis as well.
Now that I am in India I can see how initiatives like Grocery with Gratitude and other humanitarian efforts are able to spread in society in a decentralised way and a fast manner due to this type of thinking, and the social ground that movements like Moved By Love or Manav Sadhna or Lok Mitra created. Social capital, gift ties, and many to many models shine through, also in this humanitarian-aid-required-circumstances where many people are struggling for their food or their shelter.
As we see so many initiatives of Karuna flooding the world these days, I try to add my little bit to that current of love. Few weeks ago when the COVID19 crisis emerged in India I was connected to a small group of Spanish people who were deciding what to do in the next weeks. Many of them were getting stranded in India due to the crisis and the subsequent lockdown. After connecting with few of them in that watsapp group I was connected to few more groups and I realised I was actually up to something… The feeling came unquestioned.
We created an excel, then a form, then a watsapp group for local volunteers, and a facebook page (@karunateam). It all felt very effortless. Volunteers started to pour in from every corner of India, ready to support, and now we have more than 40, just couple weeks after starting this movement! People are jumping to it with trust and also discernment, since we know we are navigating turbulent waters and we have to consider many legal and health issues in the process. Volunteers are showing beautiful skilfulness, generosity and resourcefulness. Wherever we might find a person in trouble we have someone who can help! Puskhar, Delhi, Goa, Ahmedabad… No problem!
Having weaker support systems locally and less of the local ‘wisdom’ to come about, travelers in India have been definitely going through a rough time, since there is a growing fear to foreigners and the lock down has made it difficult for many even to buy food or find medicines. Dozens have already reached out to us. For them it has been a great gift to be connected to local ‘unknown friends’ who are ready to help if needed, in whatever way needed. Majority of them have been needing mostly information or moral support, but we found cases of people being kicked out of their homes or hotels, people who were not able to access food or water, or people suffering bullying from neighbours amongst other problems.
KARUNA RESPONSE TEAM!
In a many-to-many fashion we have held space for volunteers to connect with the foreigners stranded in their areas. Friends in Delhi were in shortage of food and thanks to a link by a local friend they were able to eat. Other friends were having trouble to find food as well, and food delivery was organised. A sister from Bangladesh got stuck in Ahmedabad, and brother Raza has been offering food and medicines to her day in and day out. Also in Gujarat, an anonymous friend hosted someone who was being bullied and arranged everything for her to move on safely and reach back home. One of our friends in Delhi is doing his own amazing work in collaboration with a local hostel, where a lot of foreigners are hosted with love after facing very difficult experiences…
The ripples of this Karuna intention that has many forms are reaching beyond our expectations. Few days ago we were contacted by a 7 month pregnant woman in Uganda (Africa) who needed food and extra support due to the lockdown in her country. Her husband is blocked in another country and she is in the middle of a struggle to stay healthy and safe. Somehow one of our volunteers connected with someone from Uganda in a recent online awakin call, who happens to work in a local NGO. He reached out immediately and went to this woman’s home to offer support and some basic supplies… Now she is connected with this brother and more local people ready to support her! 🙂
And this unconditional interactions not only serve temporary reliefs, but also open up long-lasting opportunities and friendships, they too weave different stories, different memories. People leave the problematic situations with a sense of gratitude and hope in humanity, a very different feeling to that felt by people who only went through the roughness of human experience. As a friend says ‘true love leaves a sustainable imprint in the heart’, especially in conditions like today’s. Shyam, one of our most active volunteers shares how after supporting a woman who was stranded in Delhi they became friends: ‘now I have a new friend in Spain. I am thinking to visit her when I travel to Spain and she is already thinking to visit me when she comes back to India!’ 🙂
Friendship wealth, shelter wealth, money wealth, food wealth, information wealth, time wealth, etc. (multiple forms of wealth), all flowing unconditionally (gift ties) in many to many directions! I love it! In the middle of this crisis, may we all find solace in love and service, and may we all find ways to step it up and keep spreading Karuna, the way to a whole new story of the people!
May all beings be happy!