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!
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Winget, TV Actress mentions us on Instagram :)
, Mapusa, Goa
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
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.
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...
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….
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!!