Maneuvering Treacherous Terrains, Surviving Deep Valleys, Sadhu Vaswani Mission Volunteers Serve the Tribes of Ambegaon
“A serpentine climb, we were on a dizzying height, a deep, dark valley right behind us and our vehicle broke down. It had poured heavily and the muddy roads were extremely slippery; the accelerator failed to do its job, the brake was struggling to function, and the hand brake wouldn’t work. Slowly but scarily, the vehicle began to slip behind…”In time, the volunteer on the passenger seat got out of the vehicle as did the volunteer on the wheel continue to struggle. Thinking on the feet, the volunteer found a huge stone that could help stall the vehicle until they could figure something out. On their lips were the words, “Dada, Dada, Dada’…
“A serpentine climb, we were on a dizzying height, a deep, dark valley right behind us and our vehicle broke down. It had poured heavily and the muddy roads were extremely slippery; the accelerator failed to do its job, the brake was struggling to function, and the hand brake wouldn’t work. Slowly but scarily, the vehicle began to slip behind…”
In time, the volunteer on the passenger seat got out of the vehicle as did the volunteer on the wheel continue to struggle. Thinking on the feet, the volunteer found a huge stone that could help stall the vehicle until they could figure something out. On their lips were the words, “Dada, Dada, Dada’…
Ambegaon Diaries Begins:
Sadhu Vaswani Mission received a distress call from a local social activist who works towards the welfare of tribes; Thakur Tribe, Katkari Tribe, and Mahadev Koli Tribe in the Ambegaon Taluka and others across Maharashtra. The Mission was apprised of their pitiable condition and how the pandemic has cost them dearly and how their livelihood has been severely impacted.
Hastening and heeding to the call, Sadhu Vaswani Mission began the service efforts and sent out help.
3rd June 2021, a group of 6 volunteers in two cars set out to serve in the region. “Starting at 8:00 AM from the Mission we reached a densely populated village at 10:30 AM; completed a part of our ration kit distribution, catered to the select tribes. Then, we split into two teams to go into the interiors of the Taluka where other villagers lived. We also made this our meeting point to assemble once the distribution was done to head home,” said a Mission volunteer.
Here on, the terrains were hilly, difficult, and risky and the villages inaccessible and remote. Accompanied by the social activist and few others the volunteers, in their vehicles, followed them into the interiors of Ambegaon. With the tribes being scattered across Ambegaon, the volunteers made several halts in each village and distributed ration kits to them.
“The areas we drove through are deserted for kilometers with no one in the vicinity. There were times when we lost our way and had to look for help, for some local whom we could spot and proceed with our journey. Also, with one village being at a distance of 5-10 kilometers from another it was quite a task. But the sheer joy and contentment that we saw on the faces of the people who received the kits were enough to make it all worth the effort! They are all with a grateful heart and their gratitude is genuine,” added the volunteer.
The social activist had a list ready, would brief the locals and the volunteers would execute the distribution with strict adherence to the pandemic protocols.
On day 1 of the distribution, 240 ration kits were distributed and the volunteers after an all-day seva returned by 10:30 PM.
Ambegaon Diaries Continues:
5th June 2021, the volunteers once again set out to complete the pending distribution. This day was one of the myriad experiences — from meeting an old lady with a bent spine but a generous heart, to a young lady living on her own in a paralytic condition and the volunteers in a vehicle breakdown escaping a life-threatening fall in the deep valleys; it was one eventful day!
“We continued with the sevas as we had done on day one. But today was different. One team was out and serving and we were a part of the other. Our vehicle broke down and we were scarily positioned on a slope with our van edging to the cliff. All we could do was pray to our Beloved Master Dada JP Vaswani and miraculously we are here, narrating the story. As soon as my volunteer friend in the passenger seat got down and the vehicle that was ahead of us realized that we are in a spot, they immediately helped us and we found a stone that could stall the van. Meanwhile, I was struggling to accelerate and keep the vehicle from going down to the cliff; in all of it was Beloved Dada’s hands for none – the brake, the accelerator, or the hand brake were doing their job as they should, all they did was keep us up and we know that was Dada! But again this was a sign; we were stranded in an area where the need was dire.”
A tractor was called and the volunteer’s van was towed for about 60 kilometers. Meanwhile, they unloaded the ration kits, a load that possibly made the vehicle struggle on the slope. Undeterred after this experience they continued the distribution. Here, they found a lady who was paralyzed and living on her own in a dark room without electricity. The lady, still bedridden, thanked the volunteers and related her sorry condition.
Another experience was that of an old lady. “The elderly lady’s spine was bent and she was coating a shed with cow dung when we spotted her. When we brought her the ration kits, she immediately asked us to accompany her to her home which was another 500-meter walk, and that we did. As soon as we got there, we had a surprising question waiting for us, with a smile and utter innocence she asked, ‘what shall I pay for this?’ The sincerity despite her condition moved us into tears. We sought her blessings and she asked us to wait for tea. But given the protocols, we had to leave. It made us think how contentment is a virtue and generosity isn’t always about money,” shared the volunteer.
With the van still in Ambegaon and the volunteers returning home in one car at 1:00 AM the following day, it was quite a seva experience.
On day 2 of the sevas, 210 ration kits were distributed.
Each ration kit consists of 5kg wheat flour, 5kg rice, 1kg dal, 1kg pulses, 1kg poha/sabudana/suji, 1kg sugar, 1litre cooking oil, and 250gms tea that will last the families a minimum of 15 days.
Ambegaon Diaries Concludes:
7th June 2021, the Mission sent additional 100 ration kits to a local coordinator who will conclude the sevas with the distribution of the kits.
Over 3 days, the Mission distributed 550 ration kits in the Ambegaon Taluka.
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