Monday, January 17, 2005

Chidambaram Trip to assess the damage and provide relief

People who have followed this blog would have known by now that a few bloggers from Bangalore & Chennai were out for the weekend on a field trip to Chidambaram to assess the damage and to provide some relief material. Well, here is the preliminary update. The trip has been completed successfully and it was a mixture of happiness and sorrow. To dramatize this, I can say that we could actually see 'Agony & Ecstacy'. The team comprised of: Anita Bora, Arun, Joshi, Suman & Chitra from Bangalore. The Chennai team had Nanda Kishore, Kiruba Shankar & Shravan (Kiruba's cousin who exhibited phenomenal enthusiasm in making it for the trip and contributing in his own way. All this for a 11th standard school boy.)

We had visited a few villages near Chidambaram town. The villages are: Killai Relief camp, Muzhukkuthurai & MGR Thittu. We first went past the Killai camp and came back to find out the exact way to Muzhukkuthurai & MGR Thittu. Muzhukkuthurai is part of the main land, while MGR Thittu is a small island off Muzhukkuthurai. Muzhukkuthurai was affected badly because of the sea water entering the land and damaging property that lived closer to the shore. But MGR Thittu was the worst hit, because the water actually crossed MGR Thittu, submerged it entirely and then reached Muzhukkuthurai. Loss of life was pathetic and loss of property and livelihood is not comprehensible. Pictures taken are yet to be uploaded and detailed reports on the same would be put up tomorrow.

A game of cricket with some of the affected children. Kiruba getting back to his early instincts and exhibiting examples of Darwin's theory by hanging down a tree (upside down). An hour long session with kids aged between 3-7 years where they painted using crayons on drawing sheets, sang tamil rhymes (which we heard for the first time) danced with Chitra Suman and went on an unusual human merry-go-round with Kiruba!!! It was good to see them smile forgetting for a moment that most of these kids had lost someone or the other from their family and were part of the mass burials that was carried out! And finally, it brought a sense of satisfaction when we handed over fishing nets worth Rs.20000/- to the villagers from Pillamedu (village head Mr. Govindan who lost his 19 year old son to the killer wave received it on behalf of his village). The smile in their faces will linger in our minds for a very long time. I promise to show you those smiles by tomorrow (the pictures are yet to be uploaded).

Not to forget the ADVENTURE.
Kiruba's car!!! Man.. what a piece of antique!!! It always fails at the wrong time! It had a flat on 14th night somewhere near Chidambaram and while coming back, some part of the car (most probably the engine as guessed by Suman Kumar) moved from its original position to be found hanging! The car refused to move and we had a terrific hindi movie climax type chase to catch a bus before the toll plaza at Pondicherry! We reached back safely.

Suman would also give his reports very soon and I would put up the pictures by tomorrow. I will also publish my detailed report of the conversations we had with the villagers and the situation in the villages we visited. I am fairly sure that I would go back to those villages in the near future. I am sure everyone who made it to those villages would! Apart from working on the report for AID India (who gave the names of these villages to us) and a report for this blog, I think that there is one more huge task that lies in front of us. NETS, NETS, NETS & BOATS for these villagers. To help them get their life and livelihood back and to achieve it as soon as possible would be the biggest challenge. Achievable, but huge. Hope that it doesn't take too long before they get back their lives, at least for the ones who survived.

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Well done
Nets Nets Nets no where
Boats boats boats no where
But hopes are eveeywhere! 

Posted by paulgoyal

11:29 PM  



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