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125Kg of Rice Given out in a day

, Mapusa, Goa
So many rations beoing distributed
So many rations beoing distributed

So the five bags of rice we received yesterday are now over! That´s 125kg of rice in 24 hours.. That means another exercise session with those stairs!

I was just about ready to tackle it on my own but thankfully Acchelal arrive back from speaking with the families. We both went down to the go-up (it´s called a go-down, but our one is up - I am going to count the steps next time, I am sure there´s 60 or more, the good thing is that we carry the rice down the steps rather than up. In total 500KG between us, it's good fun.

I like to try and keep up with the 'youngster' Acchelal, maybe he will comment on this post and say something like "I like to make Robert think he´s keeping up with me, but I go slow to make him feel better or something" He´s a good lad so he might be doing that! In any case, it's good exercise and I think I needed it as I usually spend far too much time in front of the computer!

Before the 'sack race', Budhmati and Acchelal headed to the slums to get a little bit of information from the children as we got a call this morning that someone was asking for their bank details - which we found a little strange - after a little more digging we found out that schools were contacting their students so they could receive some money for midday meals they didn't receive from the school. Each school was contacting their students to collect their bank details so they could pay a 'refund' into their accounts. Seemed like a nice idea, so Budhmati and Acchelal spent the morning getting information from the families and we will pass it onto the schools to help with the process.

The children arrived early today and were a little shocked when I asked them to leave early I drove them home as we needed a solid day of work today without distraction, one of the girls especially does get a little moody when she can´t stay as this is her second home and begs me nearly every day to come.

During the day so many people came for rations, wave after wave and we went out to check several of them. Sadly we caught a group of men that were saying they were staying separately but were staying together and was trying to get more from us. But we went to visit their home and the one we took admitted that they all lived together. So they were put on our 'naughty list'.

But on the other hand, we found lots of new worthy people who were really in need and delighted to receive their rations.

Before heading home we took another trip to Canca, which is a bit like our nemesis, it always hard work and the families are always pushing and shoving and desperate to get something, it doesn´t help that there are just so many people in such a small area. But strangely it's one of my favourite places as they try it on and make you work hard but it is so enjoyable. But don´t tell them I said that!

I thought I might be finished by now, but its 11pm, so I should grab something to eat and get some sleep as we have a few places to visit for checks tomorrow…

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A Mention for Goa Outreach

, Mapusa, Goa
Goa Outreach mentioned in the paper
Goa Outreach mentioned in the paper

We are so proud to be mentioned in this article. Do check out the full article on the link.

A Salute to the Amazing Citizens of Goa, United by Covid19 For a Better Future

"Groups of citizens have behaved in ways that highlight what is best in community and village life, re-invigorating both. Whatsapp groups across the state have been created amongst housing societies and villages so neighbors can support one another and share information in a timely manner. We are witnessing people sharing veggies from their gardens, placing bulk orders as communities to reduce the need for people to shop individually and risk exposure, and generally supporting their neighbors in acts small and big.

There are innumerable new groups that have sprung up in recent days, and existing groups that have become massively re-energized. But some of these include Goa Humanitarian Helpline, GiveforGoa, ?????? ????????????????, Live Happy, Terra Conscious, Indian Red Cross Society and JCI, Konkan Development Society, Aastha Society, Anti Hunger Squad, Farhan Rasheed Foundation Self Help Group, the Humano Welfare Trust, Humanitarian Relief Society Goa, and ActforGoa. org." HeraldGoa Mention

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Collecting Onions and Potatoes

, Mapusa, Goa
Collecting Rations
Collecting Rations

The day started off by collecting onions and potatoes from the market which happens generally every three days now (so we get through 110kg - around 55 kg of potatoes and 55 kg of onions every three days) - While I was in Mapusa I got a call from Dalal and engineering friends who very kindly donated another set of rations for us.

5 Sacks of rice (125 KG)
3 Sacks of Toor Daal (60KG)
4 Sacks of Maida (200KG)
2 Sacks of Sugar (100KG)

The rice went within 24 hours which is a little scary and so did 100kg of flour and most of the Daal, it is surprising how many families we are helping… The trustees bought 2.5 tonne, although I am not sure how long that is lasting them…. The lock down is definitely cutting deep at the moment. And its good to help where we can.

As we had lots of new stock that meant - lots of packing, thankfully we had 'mended' the sealing machine (added some non stick baking paper to it) which seemed to do the trick. Then the kids packed up the toor-dal and the older ones had to go through the tiresome task of bagging up flour! It´s the least favorite item to bag up as it gets everywhere, as it puffs up if you try to go too quickly, and its horrible - it just is! But we packed up 100KG and all the Daal and in the afternoon one of the sacks of Sugar - so ended up being a busy day.

The children can be helpful but sometimes you just want to chill so I sent everyone home early and was left with 3 who said they wouldn´t disturb me, although not exactly true but it was still quite a laid-back evening - they made Oreo cake so that was nice!

We continue to look after 'our' children ensuring they have everything they need, this is always our priority, but the number of other people we help continues to grow. Each day we are getting 20 to 30 people arriving on our doorstep for rations, we ask them a few questions and go and check if we think it's advisable. Thanks for reading, do please comment and let me know your thoughts… Oh and we gave out lots more Fanta Bottles!

Huge thanks to everyone for their help, we have had some great donations in cash and kind, so thank you, and of course to my helpers who are always willing to help. Thank you!

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Cut and Stitched Bags

, Mapusa, Goa
Drinks
Drinks

The morning was a little quiet on Monday so for a little change of schedule we cut and stitched a few bags ready for the upcoming Diwali celebrations that will come in October. Yes, it is a long way off but it´s always good to prepare things well in advance. As well as being ready, it also helps us sort out old material, shirts, and jeans that have been stuck in storage for a while, and gives us a little extra space which is always welcome.

During the day we had a few phone calls for drop off and Budhmati and Narendra handled those on their own and while out they picked up some elastic to help make face masks for the kids and staff (Thank you both).

Quite a few families dropped into the centre to pick up bags of rations mainly through word of mouth. We are delighted that we are able to help more than our own personal reach and to help those which we might otherwise miss.

In the afternoon Robert and Kaveri headed out to continue giving out the bottles of Fanta that Coca Cola kindly supplied. We were trying to give to all our children as a nice surprise and as many of the families we help don´t have refrigerators we made sure they were icy cool before taking them out. Our trip took us to Mardel, Colvale, The hill top (where the old couple stay), Karaswada, the Housing Board in Mapusa, and a few other stops along the way.

At the end of the day, we were just leaving the centre to head home when we received another call saying that they had no food for this evening, so with the help of Budhmati we quickly put a care package together and dropped it off to one family close to the District Hospital in Mapusa and then it was time to rest… Thank you to everyone who helped!

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Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th April

, Mapusa, Goa
Bus Station
Bus Station

Saturday was going to be a quiet day as I had asked everyone to take a day off, with the hope that I could put my feet up and watch a film and just chill. Unfortunately, it didn´t happen - by 8.30 I had received two calls, one of which was the children who said they were coming and I think they arrived by 9.30 and Kaveri was sure Budhmati was here and searched the centre twice even though I told her no one was here!

From then on it ended up being a generally busy day, started with sorting and cleaning and then by lunch time I received a call from one of the trustees who wanted a few items and help giving out at the Mapusa Bus stand where there are 8 or 9 families living with just plastic sheeting for cover. I arrived a little early and while I waited for the others, I met up with the Sikh Youth Federation who is lead by Jasbeer Singh, their president. Their group works slightly differently as they deliver cooked food to several areas every day. Their food smelt wonderful and it was great to see the long line waiting with plates in hand. Even before talking with me, they had offered me a bottle of water! - Thank you guys for what you do!

Once the others arrived, we had a proper chat with the Sikh volunteers and waited till they had finished before we started handing out the dry goods and provisions.

Ishita already knew a couple of the families as they had previously stayed in Panjim next to an area she had worked with for a while.

Ishita had a list of all the families from their previous visit and it was a relatively quick process to give out large family packs of dry goods and items with extra 'necessities' added on. All of the families received and then we gave a few fun items which included books, wax crayons, and pens for the children to express themselves.

It was a very hot day so it was a relief to arrive back to the relatively cool centre. By the time I arrived, there were 3 more older students who had arrived and between them, they cooked a delicious channa masala which was a welcome meal.

Yesterday was a couple of the children´s birthdays so after dropping the kids home I stopped off and wished them both - Happy Birthday Swijel and Harshada!!! One of the aunts asked me to wait as they were planning a small party (cake and balloons), unfortunately, it took a little while longer and I was so tired I was nearly dropping off while I waited for the cake to arrive. I just about made it and everyone came in and wished them both. It was really lovely but didn´t really take into account the COVID-19 protocols which was on my mind the whole time!

I finally got home around 9.30pm! Then finished off last night blog and went to bed….

Sunday 26th April

Today began with buying more stock as we had completely run out of Onions, Potatoes, Sugar (which is always in demand), and Rava, the car came back with four large sacks of 5-KG + each, which had to be unloaded and as I was the only one there, I had to over 200Kgs in total, 50KG bags are quite a handful on your own, but managed to get them up the steps. As always we take the onions and potatoes out to check for bad ones, never our favorite job but a necessary evil, the onions weren´t in great condition so took quite a while to peel off a few layers that had just started to turn, thank you to Budhmati and Amina for the help. The Potatoes were much better and Narendra arrived just in time to give a helping hand.

As well as buying the rations I also managed to pick up 6 kg of plastic bags so while we were sorting the vegetables Kaveri and Dhanashree very kindly bagged up the sugar and rava and then we spent a good hour sealing them ready to be given out.

Once everything was done, we could finally start to give a few items out - Budhmati and Amina joined me and we visited several areas and gave out around 40 sets of rations all of which were within a couple of kilometers of the centre.

After giving out the last items we arrived back at the centre and Budhmati and I filled up with the Fanta Bottles that Coca Cola had provided. In total, we managed to give out around 80 bottles to 6 different areas.

I think that will do for tonight as it's now 11.15pm so I should get some sleep. Thank you for reading and do please comment if you can.

Stay safe - Spread love not Corona!

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Wonderful guys & girls at NO NASTIES

, Mapusa, Goa
Thank you to No Nasties
Thank you to No Nasties

The day started off by giving out a couple of care packages before 9am near to where one of the helpers stays. Once we reached the centre we packed up the car with a 'boat load' of donations and headed out to Anjuna where a family lives who was introduced to us by an International friend who said they needed assistance. The family was part of a small slum area with maybe 15 small rooms but the rest of them had sufficient, but just across the road there were 4 more families who were very happy to receive some care packages.

After Anjuna we headed to Calangute as we had heard there were a group of labourers who were struggling, we met them at St Anthony´s chapel and followed them to their rooms where we shared out what we had.

After Calangute we started heading back and made a stop in Para with a family who is struggling due to their shop being closed, we helped them last week and was charmed by their children who spoke better English than all of my children I think, come to think of it, probably spoke better than me! They were all young, perhaps 4 7, and 10 (at a guess). We asked what they needed and they were open and honest which is what we love.

After the quick stop in Para we headed back to restock and went out again. This time in the opposite direction and went to check on Jyoti who is staying at a girls hostel as her family is in the village, we had been before just after the lock down to make sure they had everything and went once again just to check but they seem to have a good support system which is great to hear. We had brought some of the remaining juice boxes (donated by Coca Cola) and gave those, one for each child and staff too. #SpreadingJoyNotCorona

We then headed onto Mardel and caught up with one of the students who live a little further away, it was lovely to see her again and we topped up her rations, its also nice to catch up with how they are doing and the fact that she lives next to a picturesque river and palm trees, it´s a lovely place to chill for 5 minutes. Just down the road was a new set of families we have been helping so we left a well stocked care package for them and headed back to our and drove from house to house making sure the children had enough and giving them what they needed.

It is always so nice to see the kids as due to the lock down it´s been hard not to hear their voices and laughter at the centre. They really bring it alive when they come. But that still seems a long way off

One of my tasks of the day was to take one photo to say thank you to the wonderful guys & girls at NO NASTIES who fund-raised 1.6 Lakh for us. (that's around &1700) from their clothing brand - do check them out. No Nasties. We thought we would get a few of our regulars to hold up some paper showing our love for their kindness! We snapped the flowing photo and headed back to the centre.

After a short break, we then filled the car up yet again with the remaining flour and Daal. We managed to finish off the 100KG of flour we received yesterday so I am guessing we must have given out around 50 to 60 packs today, there was a lot of driving but it was nice to meet another group who is helping out The other group was giving out before Ramadan started and they seemed to be doing an excellent job so kudos to them!

Then headed back and chilled last night (that´s why this is a day late!) - Sorry

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6 Families in Khorlim To Start The Day

, Mapusa, Goa
Thank you for the donations
Thank you for the donations

Today was not too busy, had lots of help with packing and giving out, we received a call before 9am for 6 families in the Khorlim area of Mapusa, Acchelal took charge and distributed to those as he knew the location, but on his return her said there was another 6 and then again we went and another 5.

This is generally how it happens when people receive something the news spreads and we end up going again and again. Although we ran out of Potatoes and Onions part way through so we had to go to the Mapusa wholesale market to pick up 2 sacks, which totalled around 110Kg.

In the late morning, we had a visit from Mr. Dalal who with his friends of Batch No 84 - Goa Engineering College donated a great collection of goods to be used in the care packages that we distribute.

5 Sacks of rice (125 KG)
2 Sacks of Toor Dall (60KG)
2 Sacks of Maida (100KG)
100 Packs of sunflower Oil

The items came in just in time as even though we bought so much the day before it had mostly gone for the families at Canca and Betim yesterday. It is a little crazy sometimes about how much stuff we are getting through nowadays.

In the afternoon we took most of the remaining juice boxes that Coca Cola had donated out, we visited several places, and we had kept them in the freezer so most were ice cold when we gave them out and they are definitely a welcome break from the hot sunshine and close humid heat. As we were going around we found 11 more families that were nearly out of food, so nipped back to the centre for a resupply and headed back out. It was a good day.

Sorry nothing crazy today, just an average day…

Thanks

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A Police Escort

, Mapusa, Goa
Crazy Times
Crazy Times

Today was a mixed bag, the morning was a rush to find and purchase the stock that would be used this evening. In total we bought 20 sacks of rice (total 500KG), 10 sacks of Toor Daal (300 KG) and 6 Sacks of Flour (300 KG), this required three trips with a car. Thankfully Acchelal was there to share the burden of carrying the rice down the steps again and I think my age is showing as he was running up and down while I was walking. Although he did come late so I had already done the 300Kg of Daal before he arrived (That was my excuse anyway).

While we were out the team packed up the rice and flour and we now have a good stock of most things ready to be given out. Other than a couple of people coming to collect care packages the day was quiet which was a nice change as I slept late last night and ended up catching up on an hours sleep before it was time to head out to Canca to give to a large group of families, which is a daunting task as they are very 'animated' with us and each other. About to set off so will finish this post on my return.

So we just got back (around 8:30pm), and I was completely right about them being animated, I shared a link to a small video which I took just as we arrived, today we had more people with us, one of the trustees and 3 or 4 more volunteers to help out (four cars in total) but it was a little bit of a shock to them, normally just myself and Budhmati go to give out the juices and we came in our car first and the lovely children saw us and came running and started to sit down in a line in front of the car which was so very nice, but then as the other cars came in behind the parents did their thing and a little shoving here and pushing there took place which, for your first time there can be a bit intimidating.

Facebook Post

But after a second attempt and a police escort (just for show) we spent the evening giving out care packages to all the families in the area we had previously visited and a few extras, I think.

It was starting to get dark so we ended up giving the items out by torch light and I will include some pictures to give you an idea of the scale of things. In total, we gave out rations to 80 families and we are going back again tomorrow to give out more!

A huge thank you to everyone who helped, from Ishita's side there was Asmita, Sherwyn & Santosh and Ishita herself, from mine Budhmati, Amina, and Acchelal, thank you all.

And finally, thank you to the land owners who pointed us in the right way and a few of the families who kept others in order and the two friendly policemen who stayed with us until the end.

THANK YOU!

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Social Distancing in Vehicles

, Mapusa, Goa
Canca Kids
Canca Kids

I didn´t write anything yesterday, I thought I would post a video instead, I thought a video would make a nice change and something different to the doom and gloom of the pandemic. But yesterday still happened and still had us distributing items around the area. It was a little different as it was the first day of Social Distancing in/on vehicles.

I am not sure if I am a huge fan of only having one person on a bike (we wear masks anyway), but someone thought it was a good idea so the Police were enforcing it quite hard yesterday, and also today. So I guess this is life for a while. Thankfully Steve and Sarah VERY kindly lent us their car, but again, it's a two-person deal, one in the front and one in the back and one in the boot (ok, I haven´t put anyone in the boot yet)

In the morning we filled the car up with the lovely juices that were donated by Coca Cola and headed off to Canca where there is a sizeable slum. We got all the children out into the field and had them sit down (which makes life a little easier), but they are a real handful and he parents are so 'masti' (naughty), taking things off the children hoping we'll give them twice and taking them out of the line and putting them in further down etc. Then as we get closer to the end of the line, I don´t know if it's a fear we will run out or just excitement they just surround you and try to grab etc. Its frustrating.

We went again this morning and there were even more kids we managed to give out I think 360 juice boxes with kids receiving two each so that would mean there were 180 children there, which seems unlikely, although there was a LOT!!! Even if 10% managed to sneak in two sets it's at least 150 kids we gave to this morning.

The mothers are the worst culprits trying to deceive and take advantage, ok, there was also the odd child (normally around 13 years of age) who would also try their luck. But as I have been doing this for 15+ years I know the signs and the tricks they pull. I took a few aside and had a quiet word with them to behave. There was just Budhmati and I with the help of a few of the fathers to keep everyone in 'line'

We might go again tomorrow to see if they are better behaved.

On the way back to Mapusa we had a few sets of care packages packed from 'orders' we had taken the day before so we set off and gave those out. Then a little more ruckus as one area was upset that we hadn't brought for them. I guess they think we have a team of a hundred preparing all of this, we don't by the way. Just myself and normally 3 or 4 others buy, pack and hand out the goods.

I think the lack of work has really started to hit hard as they just don't have money to feed themselves and are becoming more reliant on help from groups and NGOs. As we help one person, they pass on our number to another and another, and then we are re-helping those from the week before as their rations are nearly over.

It's Busy - I think that is the simplest way to put it. It's also hot and humid, I hope this all finishes before the monsoon kicks in as that would make the process so much more difficult and messier. The place we went this morning we wouldn´t even be able to get to as the fields turn into lakes. OK, let´s not think about that for now.

I think that´s enough for today, I hope you enjoy reading this - if you do then please leave a comment so I know how many do read it.

Thank you to Budhmati who handles most of the phone calls and keeps track of all the families we help. Also to Acchelal who is always ready to help picking up stock and giving out. Then Amina, Taslim, and Narendra who have been packing and keeping the place ticking while we are out.

A special thank you for today for the cooks (Amina, Gunjan, Acchelal and Taslim) who prepared a lovely lunch for us, although it was such a busy day our lunch started at 4pm!! We had cheese garlic Naan, and Chicken tika Masala and salad. Yummy!

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Sunday 19th April

, Mapusa, Goa
Coca Cola Donated Juice Boxes for the children during COVID-19
Coca Cola Donated Juice Boxes for the children during COVID-19

Ok Mum - You don't need to tell me to get exercise anymore! This morning Acchelal and I manhandled 20 sacks of rice (total 500Kg) from the Godown (it was actually a 'GoUp' about 40 to 50 steps) up and down carrying the 25kg sacks of rice, then later we unloaded all these to the house (more steps – but just 10) and then bought and unloaded around 110Kg or onions and potatoes and then 120 ltrs of oil oh and we got a donated sack of rice too (another 25kg – thank you Genevieve and family!!!). Since the lock down I have lost 5kg in weight! Its good exercise for the body and great exercise for the soul.

One thing that made all of this a lot easier was the car! - A huge thank you to Steve and Sarah for loaning us their car. The bikes have been our work horses for the last 3 weeks and they have had to work hard. The car makes life so much easier – THANK YOU!

After packing up some rice (we had run out of 250+kg in two days) we headed out to give out to families a little further away before the police start to enforce the new ‘travel – social distancing rule’ from tomorrow only one person will be allowed on a motorbike and 2 persons in a car (on in the front and one in the back) So that will make life a bit more difficult for us. But hey, I am sure we will find a way.

We visited Assagao where we gave out care packages to daily wages and families, while we were giving out on of the rice bags broke and perhaps half a cup of rice fell to the ground, (our of about 2.5kg bag), I thought, that's a shame, but as we left I notice the man was scooping it up off the floor, with soil, stones and all. This is when you realise how hungry some of the people are.

After Assagoa we headed to Para and Canca and gave out more items in both areas. In Canca we were there checking up on a family know by a friend of ours. I had been to the slums there many years ago and some of the older kids recognised me (even with my mask on). But I didn't realise there were so many families all living in 'huts' made from plastic, cardboard and bamboo and so many kids (I am guessing around 200 people in total).

We have 'ordered' a supply drop for tomorrow (via the trustees) as we wouldn’t be able to handle that on our own, but we also hope to be able to do follow ups and make sure they have the support they need. The only problem is that I remember that they are quite insistent about things and really don't have patience to sit/stand in lines etc so I am sure it will be an experience giving out to so many people living in such a small area. Anyway, I will worry about that later, this evening I am just enjoying the wind down.

We have around 15 packages ready for the morning (mostly for our kids), so that will be the first order of the day tomorrow. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Thanks also to Amina, Budhmati and especially Acchelal who helped me with all the lifting today!

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Saturday 18th April

, Mapusa, Goa
Four Children with the COVID-19 masks on
Four Children with the COVID-19 masks on

Yesterday we had a power cut, thunder storms and quite a bit of rain so was unable to complete the daily blog, but it's a bright fresh morning today and a Sunday so I hope it will be a less busy day today (Wishfull thinking maybe). We are nearly out of rice again, so won’t be able to get any till tomorrow, so we are currently limited by supplies. We have bought over a tonne of goods this week and most has gone.

Yesterday was a fun packed day, we gave out around 400 juice packs for the kids, although 65 were given to migrants that are being housed in a local government school (the same school that many of our primary children go to). Thank you to Dr Geeta (who is coordinating the area for speaking to the 'guards’ at the site to allow us to provide them. It was great to see loads of kids but the day was very hot and I managed to get through 4 T-shirts during the day, hopefully the rains last night will cool things down for a few days.

We are getting more calls everyday and families turning up at our doorstep for rations, we are happy to help, although it does keep us busy. I am a little concerned with the new 'rule' which will be enforced by the police on Monday about bike not being able to have a passenger, strangely on the same day that the CM is saying the lockdown will be eased… Will have to see how that goes. We normally go out in pairs as its extra pair of hands and a bit of moral support. Its exhausting work and many times we have to search where people stay as we have received a call and the directions aren’t always accurate or they are running late (or we are).

It was an exhausting day, thank you to Budhmati, Amina, Taslim, Narendra and Kajal who helped with packing and distribution yesterday.

Thank you to Coca Cola India and everyone els who has made this possible.

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Friday 17th April

, Mapusa, Goa
A supporter informed us about a familt struggling in Anjuna
A supporter informed us about a familt struggling in Anjuna

The reason I keep putting the day above these posts is so that I actually have a reminder which day it is, Every day is just buying stock and packing and giving it out to more and more families who meet us along the way or call us up for help.Each area we help, we then return a few times as they inform other families in the area. Its good that we can find more families by word of mouth, although having to return each day as there are a handful of new requests is hard work sometimes.

One of the good things is that we are getting to know more about the local area, there are even more small pockets of slums scattered behind buildings and hidden behind nondescript walls, each seemingly having their own little eco-system and small tight nit communities (that’s what it looks like). Its very interesting.

It is lovely to speak to these new families and make a small difference to their lock down blues, Today was a busy day as we went to Assagao, Anjuna, Para and lots of areas around Mapusa providing care packages.

We would like to thank Sanesh Pillay and Coca Cola who kindly donated a total of 8000 small juice boxes for the kids. We were delighted to receive them and the trustees dropped off 1800 around lunch time which we started to give out straight away this evening evening, hopefully tomorrow we will make a sizable dent in the rest of the 1800.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped and donated.

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Food Shortages have disapated

, Mapusa, Goa
The Government helpline numbers for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
The Government helpline numbers for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

I am so glad that we are over the worst of the food problems in Goa, the first week was very hard with no shops open everyone scrambling to find the smallest amount of rations, no local shops were open and vegetables were no where to be seen.

Many of the families who live day to day were desperately in need for help.

It is now three weeks later and the roads are scattered with small vendors selling vegetables, fish, bread and milk. Restaurants are open for delivery and there are hundreds of people on the roads going to and from place to place. There is now a good system with many Groups and NGO's helping, its started with a few and then each week more and more are helping. It is great to see the many groups and NGO's who have joined to help out over the last couple of weeks. It is now got to a point where more organisation needs to take place as some people are being helped several times as more people have joined the force to help.

If you still know people who aren't being helped then do get in touch. Unfortunate some people are taking advantage of having more and more people distributing with some hoarding supplies. Thankfully there are also those who are happy to say, thank you we received supplies, already.

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Thursday 16th April

, Mapusa, Goa
A family in need
A family in need

Police were out in force today and I managed to get stopped 4 times within 1 km! The first time they stopped us as he 'thought' I was not wearing a helmet, he asked me to stop and pointed me to the police man in white, who was busy with someone else, so I asked the policeman why did you stop me? – he said I wasn't wearing a helmet – so then I pointed to the helmet on my head – then he let me go… Then it nearly happened again 500m down the road, but then I got waved through. All of this was on the way to pick up supplies form the kids.

I bought two large bags (onion and potatoes), ok, I won’t comment on how big they were as they were quite large, but as I was leaving another policeman stopped me and said I was over loading, although I thought the only rules on overloading of twowheelers related to pillion passengers, and not keeping bags on it, I have checked and checked and don't see any mention. So after quite a bit of discussion with the policeman, he kindly let us through and then we got stopped again as we left the roundabout But we just said we’ve just spoken to the other guy and headed back to the centre with the goods.

Unrelated (honest) we picked up about half a ton of goods this morning in total (not all at once). We bought Rice, Toordaal, Salt, Flour, Onions, Potatoes, Chilli and Turmeric powder.

We spent a good portion of the day packing up the new deliveries and we really are getting the knack of it now, a well oiled machine, sadly we have turned to plastic bags, the other options were nice, but due to the quantity we are doing its no longer feasible to use up-cycled material bags.

Once everything was bagged up we gave out to several areas and got a few more calls during the day.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped and the kind policemen who let us past.

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Jennifer Winget, TV Actress mentions us on Instagram :)

, Mapusa, Goa
Thank you Jennifer!
Thank you Jennifer!

We were delighted for the recognition from a well know Indian TV actress, Jennifer Winget on instagram today, she wrote...

This really got me to stop and think...while we're comfortably safe in our homes, with sufficient food and family to share it with, there are so many as the migrant workers with no proper food, water, roof above their head or sanitation. One such initiative started by a friend of mine a few years ago has come to the aid of these in need, in their time of need and I genuinely want to direct attention to their efforts and whatever solace they bring to everyone they're working for! Help me help fuel their cause by following their page or sending it to anyone you know who'd be up to be involved. Trying to do whatever I can and do my bit sitting safely home, for those who don't have one! @goaoutreach

Thank you!

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A short one tonight

, Mapusa, Goa
Girl collecting supplies
Girl collecting supplies

Short one tonight as its late and I'm tired.. Day was good, we got a flurry of requests at the end of the day and couldn't manage to provide them all, Managed to get through 5 bags of Rice and 50 Kg of flour in 2 days! Off to the market in the morning.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us with financial donations and donations in kind - you are all amazing - Thank you so much!

Along with donating we are starting to prepare for the new school year and start of the monsoon! - We visited lots of the children to collect old bags and make sure they have chosen their new ones.. A little worried about uniforms as the tailors and material shops are all closed!!! Will see what happens after the 3rd when the extended Lock down finishes...

Thanks for reading..

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We're in the paper again

, Mapusa, Goa
Goa Outreach featured in Times of India during the COVID-19 Crisis
Goa Outreach featured in Times of India during the COVID-19 Crisis

We're in the paper again

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Thank you to all the Trustees and Volunteers and the ones helping me out here (Taslim, Acchelal, Budhmati, Kaveri and Amina)...

They got my name wrong though Still nice to see

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Tuesday 14th April

, Mapusa, Goa
Large joint family
Large joint family

Well it was lovely to see Amina again as she had been at home for the last two weeks, but she joined us again to help with distributing items – Thank you Amina! As a treat she got to join Rob on the bike and met up with a few of the children she has really missed over the last two weeks as we gave out supplies. The picture shows one of the bigger joint families and they have around 13 children in total in one house, I jokingly said no more babies to them and one of the ladies had a wry smile on her face.. I then found out another young one will be with us in the coming months.

It was lovely to catch up with them and share a nice collection of food, we had a good joke and laugh and we are always made so welcome.

Today was also another heavy day for the bike as we bought 160KG worth of goods (Onions, Potatoes, Flour and Tea Powder). We also packed 160Kg of goods into bags (the rice wee had been given before and today's flour. (Thank you to Gopi, Taslim, Budhmati and Kajal for packing the items up). While this was happening myself and Amina visited the families and gave care packages out.

We caught up with three families who said they had just missed us the day before, so we did a quick 1 hour turnaround for them and provided each one with a care package.

I guess today has just been a steady day, nothing too crazy, Oh, I took part in the Goa Govt’s survey as they go round asking if anyone has any symptoms (thankfully I don’t), they also asked if I had left the country, again, not left of the last 1 and a half years and that was about it, the hardest question was, what’s my age – I had to think a little before answering!

So, everything is good here, oh one small thing to note is that the lock-down has been extended for another 20 days! I think we will continue to be busy supporting the families with more care packages for at least the next few weeks… But next week I think I am really going to try and have a day off! Lets see what happens….

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Monday 13th April

, Mapusa, Goa
One of the girls with a donated pink hat that she can take home along with lots of other goodies.
One of the girls with a donated pink hat that she can take home along with lots of other goodies.

The Goa Outreach team seems to be getting quite a bit of attention now which is really nice to know. A lot of that is down to the hard-working Trustees and Volunteers who have been packing up supplies and going out in around North Goa. Everyone has been working long days trying their best to provide much needed supplies to families that have been hit hardest from the lockdown.

Our trustees are a modest bunch, but I thought that Ishita, Rhys and Rahul needed a mention Thank you for everything you have done over the last couple of weeks and all the fantastic volunteers who have helped.

For us at Mapusa, its been a normal fun filled day of sorting and giving out supplies in the locality. Each time we find new places we get more and more requests, which piles on the pressure and we obviously have to keep buying and packing up supplies as we give it out at an ever increasing rate.

We were delighted to receive 100Kg of Rice this morning from Anyuta and family (Thank you) and also a bag of Daal which is a great help and a nice surprise.

Along with all the new families we are helping we ensure that 'our' families are being looked after as we would hate for them to overlooked.

W are making sure all the children (around 145) are ok and we check / they call on a daily basis if they running out of anything. A few of the families are 'out of station', mainly in their villages so its impossible to support them at the moment as the borders of Goa have been closed for around 2 weeks now. Each evening our helpers (Acchelal, Budhmati and Taslim) take care packages to people in who are living close by, which helps a lot as we don’t need to make purpose journeys.

Sadly, many of the children from other local charities are suffering also as they haven’t been getting the support they need. We have been able to step up and help to ensure that they have food and the basic necessities to tide them over.

This afternoon we have had a few families come to pick things up at the centre and they have brought their babies/young children with them, so as well as food we have treated the young children to new clothes and baby items, pillows and more which always brings a smile to the face underneath the face mask of course!!

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Happy Easter everyone...

, Mapusa, Goa
Baby Gifts
Baby Gifts

No chocolate eggs for us sadly, we would have had some but Penny's flight got cancelled just before the lock down!

Its been a busy day again, started giving out supplies before 9am and also visited some new families and their homes as the word of our support spreads.

After returning to the centre we packed up some baby things as requested by one of the Trustees and then spent a good part of the day sorting and preparing items for giving out tomorrow.

We had a good collection of items bagged up which included some extra things including razors, clothing, bedding and various bits and bobs really.

One of the places we stopped (where one of our children stay), their neighbor was asking for help, she explaining that her landlord was asking for the rent, even though my Modi has said he will take action on landlords who are threatening to remove people who don't pay rent during this difficult period.

I don't really know what the solution is, if she can't pay she will have to leave, but if she makes a fuss and asks the police (or whoever to step in) to have a word, I am sure she will get asked to leave, or her time there made difficult - Has anyone got any ideas to help??? At least we were able to help with a care package, including bedding, clothes and extra bits.

In the evening we had a visit by one family with a baby, so it was nice end to the day giving out a few clothes and also provided them with baby milk powder and baby wash that was donated by Terra Concious this week.

Thank you to all and hope you all had a lovely Easter Sunday

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No Easter Eggs in Sight

, Mapusa, Goa
A Fabulous Smile
A Fabulous Smile

Well Easter is nearly upon us and there are no Easter eggs in sight, to be honest there is still a lack of most things in the shops that are open here in Goa. Thankfully we are managing to buy the basics, today we picked up 2 large 50KG sacks of flour as we ran out again, thank you to Kaveri for helping me carry both on the bike at once! The 'coolie' was a little stunned when I wanted one of the bags lent over my handle bars and the second on Kaveri's knees. It is amazing what becomes 'normal' in India.

The day started off very busy with Budhmati and I giving out a few extra supplies to 40 families that we help throughout the year. As the lock down has been on a while now, we thought it would be good to supply a couple of spices and some tea powder and sugar so they can have a nice cup of chai in the morning /evening. We gave 6 items out to every family.

Once back at the centre we prepared a few more care packages and then headed up the highway to give more items out and was greeted with these beautiful smiling faces! This is definitely one of Budhmati's favourites (I know we shouldn´t have favourites… )

The afternoon was more of an organising session with packing up the 1ooKg of flour and preparing goods for one of our volunteers.

Ishita (One of the Trustees) visited in the evening as she was on her way to a government camp and wanted to stock up on baby supplies before doing so. We were able to share some of the goodies provided by Tera Conscious and supporters and a few baby sets which we had in stock. Baby essentials were given out to 10 babies who are housed in a migrant camp just outside Mapusa. Ishita says "They were super thankful as they didn't even have proper milk for their babies. They were giving their babies a dal porridge"

Well a little tired so will say goodnight - it's 10pm here… Thank you to everyone who has helped - we appreciate the help and support.

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A Busy Day Today

, Mapusa, Goa
Giving out Buckets and other items
Giving out Buckets and other items

A busy day today, we started by distributing requirements to some of the families who are often found begging in and around Mapusa. There were 9 or 10 plastic 'tents' with groups of families in. We gave them all the basics so they has something to cook for lunch/dinner. I took my camera but forgot to put the memory card in so no photos sadly. Later on, we quickly nipped out to give to another four families that we met yesterday and then onto Bastora to help 6 other families. While we were out our helpers had bagged up all the sugar, rice and dal into the packets so we are now ready for another big day, although it´s a friend's birthday tomorrow so we might have a half day Will see.

Around lunch time we were delighted to receive a car full of supplies via Terra Conscious that they had been given, there were some great things and managed to include some straight away in the parcels (some razors for the men). We would like to thank Pooja and Roshan and everyone who donated. There is quite a selection of things so it might take a while to give everything out as we find the best people to give things to.

But to make a good start on the newly donated items we included soap, buckets and jugs in the afternoon distributions as we were heading to some of the more remote villages (for us), so thought it would be nice to include a few of the new items.

We headed up the highway and met up with Luis again who took us to some of the more needy families in the north. It was great to have local knowledge as we were able to help the families who were really in need. Thank you Luis! We arrived back just before 6pm and thankfully just before it started raining! - Yep, there were rumblings of thunder and a few light showers (and currently no electricity too!)

Thanks again to all of my team who have helped keep everything running smoothly.

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Stock Check Day

, Mapusa, Goa
Taking a stock check
Taking a stock check

Today has been a stock check day as we completely ran out of Rice, Toordal and Tea Powder, Chilli and Tumeric and down to our last half sack of flour so we ventured out into Mapusa market and surrounding area to find shops that had stock and had it at a good price. Which is getting difficult.

In the last two days we have managed to transport over half a ton (probably 650KG) of goods on the motor bikes

Special thank you go out to Budhmati, Acchelal and Kaveri for helping with this!

We gave some items out and also met up with one of the Trustees this evening as they have had a few calls for support in the Mapusa area so we joined them early evening.

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Preparing Packs

, Mapusa, Goa
Preparing Ration Packs
Preparing Ration Packs

Had a very busy day today. Started off by visiting homes and seeing who needed help in our Semi-local area, we found some very worthy cases, and met many more locals who were struggling as there is no work. We visited 24 different families and checked on their needs. It was lovely to meet new faces and spread a bit of love and no corona.

We made short videos (which seems an efficient way to collect their needs) and once back to the centre, started making a list ready for preparing the individual packs of requirements.

A friend contacted us the day before and said there were around 10 families that we struggling about 30 mins north of the centre so we packed up the motorbike and headed out.

We met up with Luis who showed us to each of the families through the winding villages in Pernem, quite close to the border of Marahastra. We hope to go back and give out more in a couple of days.

The afternoon was spent preparing the packs that we would give out in the evening. 3 Bikes were needed to carry everything, and we met at a centre point and gave out to each of the families we met earlier. All went smoothly and got a few smiles from the families. We do make the best of things and have a few laughs as we give things out. A good atmosphere always helps

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Hadn't eaten for three days

, Mapusa, Goa
In Need of Supplies
In Need of Supplies

Today has been a productive day giving out food care packages. Word of mouth is spreading and we have found some families who are really in need. It was also great to catch up with the lady on the hill again today (we thought we would check up on her) and this time her husband was also there so everything was good and they were just starting to cook.

We went further a field today as some of the children we help live outside of Mapusa too, so we visited Sanya, one of our differently abled girls, and we also were told about another family that has two children who are also differently-abled, Budhmati had met them before but it was the first time for the rest of us.

One of the new recipients today told us that they hadn't eaten for three days! So we were happy to be able to help.

The day did end on a fun note as we met a man with no home and he just wanders up and down the road and sleeps wherever he lays his head. He was such a character though stating proudly that he just spoke English, he was originally from Chennai, and was trained as a civil engineer, I think he said. The English he spoke was good, and he rattled off his qualifications, but he had difficulty understanding Roberts accent, he also knew Tamil, so we called up one of the students who is also originally from the same area and he spoke with her for a few minutes then broke out into song. He was such a character, but I think he has been roaming the roads for quite some time, and not just since the lock down. He was very grateful for the food and health care items we provided. We also gave some trousers and shirts as I think his wardrobe was very limited. It was a good day.

A special thank you to Budhmati, Acchelal and Gunjan who helped today and not forgetting Taslim who helped feed the troops! Food was lovely!

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Living On A Hill

, Mapusa, Goa
A box of rations
A box of rations

This morning we have given rations out to 11 families, one took a little bit of finding, we were given directions by one of the families we help which took us down a small track that seemed to go nowhere, but as we reached to the top of the hill we found a very primitive structure with a lady and some dogs sheltered underneath. We gave her one of the boxes provided by the Rotary Club of Panaji Riviera the day before with a few extra items added (soap, toothpaste and brushes).

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Rotary Club of Panjim

, Mapusa, Goa
Thank you to the Rotarty Club of Panjim
Thank you to the Rotarty Club of Panjim

My helpers had the day off today and I had hoped I'd be able to kick back and relax in the morning at least, although that was obviously a little optimistic as 5 children arrived in the morning and most stayed all day. During the day I received a call from Jonathon who was on his way to Mapusa with a care package courtesy of the Rotary Club of Panaji Riviera. Five of their Volunteers Yogish Kulkarni, Jonathan Fernandes, Sairaj Dhond, Felipe Alvares and Sajal Dhondi helped unload the vehicles and presented us with a great selection of supplies as you can see in the photo. Each box contained Rice, Dal, Flour, Onions, Potatoes and oil. We are so grateful to them.

Thank you as well to husband and wife team, Lyanne and Riaz who dropped in Just before 9pm and donated a large sack of rice, dal and onions and potatoes. Thank you!

Thank you to all and everyone who has donated online, thank you so much!

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FC Goa Captain

, Mapusa, Goa
FC Goa Captain
FC Goa Captain

I didn't realise it was the FC Goa Captain who dropped the items off when he came - Thank you to everyone who him and everyone else involved!

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North Goa Collector

, Mapusa, Goa
Mapusa Collector
Mapusa Collector

I was honoured to meet the Collector based in Mapusa Mamlatdar Office along with Dr Geeta S. Nagvenkar, O.S.D. a coordinator for the Bardez area in relation to organising donations of goods to those in need of help due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Dr Geeta has a big task as she looks after the whole of Bardez, and we were happy to be able to provide a small amount of support in providing resources to a group of 214 people (adults and children) who were in need of a helping hand.

In total we were able to provide items for 252 people, these items included a large bar of hand soap to help protect against coronavirus as well as enabling them to ensure good hygiene in this difficult time. Toothpaste, as well as toothbrushes, were also given to everyone. As we supplied a few more they have a good stock to work from with any new cases they are involved in.

We have also started to provide donated clothes to the children from this group, although we did not have time today to properly finish this but hope it will be done in the next day or two. The clothes were given and we look forward to ensuring the right sizes are given to the children and hopefully if needed more are given out in the near future.

I would like to thank the Collector, Dr. Geeta for allowing us to be part of the movement to ensure that everyone in need is given tools to ensure their health and happiness during the lock down and a special thank you to Martin Carrasco for the introduction.

*Sorry no photos from today so have used one of my old ones for illustration purposes only

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Food and Basic Health Items

, Mapusa, Goa
Giving out items
Giving out items

We have given out food and basic health items to over 100 families now.

The first few days were so very difficult as the food was in such short supply, we were lucky to manage to get a good stock just before the 21 day lock down. Thankfully things have calmed down a little and it has become a lot easier with vegetables and fruit now available on the roadsides.

This morning while giving out food we met 3 adults and 1 child at the road side, we have them a few items which we had left and they narrated their story. Since the lock down they have been living in the Jungle as their train home had been canceled. We gave them our number but not had a call yet so we will try and find them (hopefully) and ask around if anyone knows where they are staying. - Fingers Crossed.

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