It has been great to receive a huge quantity of products from Nestle.
The complete list is.
1,296 x KitKat 3F
528 x x Milo Active GO Tins
2,880 x Maggi Masala Noodles
1,863 x Polo Mint Roll
12 Jars x Milkybar Eclairs
We have been able to give out most of it in the first few days and will continue to distribute the remaining items this coming week.
A big thank you to Budhmati for distributing these in the evening last night and everyone who has helped over the last few weeks - Its been a great help.
We were delighted to receive boxes and boxes of goods from Nestle India yesterday and today we started handing the items out to the children.
Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I had to use my phone, so photos aren't quite as good as I hoped.
Thank you to Nestle India, Terra Conscious for supporting us and the Families for always making it a delight to give items out.
For many of us, the lock down is just an inconvenience or a chance to spend the day in bed or at the very least waking up late and wandering from room to room at home.
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth for the thousands of migrant families/workers who are standard at Bambolim athletic stadium which is being used as a temporary relief who are waiting to return home.
The lock down brought a stop to any income for many and what money they had was spent on food and accommodation, but when days turned to weeks and weeks to months it became apparent that the only option they had left was to return home as they had no money to buy food let alone pay for accommodation.
Special trains had been put on by the states/government so this saw thousands making their way to the railway stations in hope of getting on a train to go home. The numbers involved were plenty that many have who reached the station did not get a seat to go back, the Goa Government were quick to arrange a temporary shelter for them until they could get on their train home as most had given is their rented homes and had nowhere to go.
With over 2000 individuals which include women and children, we ( Goa Outreach ) along with other brilliant citizen groups have stepped up to assist with breakfast, dinner, biscuits, snacks, and water for those stuck in limbo.
We have been honored to serve those in need and work alongside government officials and police to ensure that people are fed during these difficult times.
Thank you to everyone who has helped over the last few days, it is a huge task and we are so grateful for the support of the local government, police force, and of course the local citizen groups who have made it all possible.
We would like to add that if at all any of you know any migrant workers waiting to go home, please discourage them from leaving their accommodation and making their way to the station until they are 100% sure of a seat on the train.
To help migrant families returning to their home towns. We got word that 1000 would be heading home with little or no food for the long journey, with the help of Cash & Carry who opened especially for us we bought more than 1000 packs of biscuits and 1000 juice boxes to go with the other items that the trustees had sourced for the families.
Thank you to Budhmati, Acchelal, Gopi and Amina who also helped with carrying all the supplies by bike
One of the good things about the COVID19 Pandemic is that the kids have got very creative with their cooking skills! - Amazingly you can make a really good cake with just biscuits and milk. (and a few accessories to put on top). The cake which is just done in a frying pan ends up being soft, moist and surprisingly good! (much nicer than the biscuits it's made from!) The cake costs half the price of the ones you buy and tastes probably better! Thanks to Anwarsi, Amina, Budhmati and everyone else who helped make this for 'Babys' birthday today - 2 years old!
The last week we have continued to supply rations to over 100 families but that is a lot easier than it was when we were doing up to 100 in a day, nearly every day.
Thankfully most people have at least some work, this week we had a call from Hyderabad asking for help as there were some laborers stranded in Goa without food, also we have had a couple of Goans who are stuck in Bangalore who wants to come back to Goa but had no idea how. It's not our forte, but after a quick search on the internet, I managed to send them a few details.Goa was starting to feel pretty safe and then during the middle of this week cases started to climb. We had been ok at just 7 cases, all of which had recovered and no active cases for a month, but in the last 5 days, the number has jumped up to 29! This might not sound a lot if you live in the UK or America, but it's a little worrying. We will just have to see how it goes and the outcome on jobs for the daily earners etc.
On a slightly brighter note, we delivered a table to one family in the last week, a mother lives alone with her 5 children and as the monsoon is approaching it would be nice to get clothes and items off the floor so the folder away table that was donated to us a few months ago seemed like a great gift. Sorry, it's not the best photo, it is quite dark inside their two room house.
A huge thank you to Stephen Booth and Astrid Dsouza who helped provide tea, rice, flour, and oil. We spent the morning packing as we were completely out of all three yesterday. Thank you! - Thankfully things are much better and it is more a matter of topping struggling families up rather than them running out completely anymore as it was for quite a while. Thank you!
Things are slowly getting back to normal here in Goa, lots of people are returning to their old jobs or finding new ones until the hospitality sector gets back on track.
This week has seen a sharp decline in the requirement for extra help to families. Many of the migrant labour force are securing passage back to their home states which reduces the need here in Goa and also opens up jobs for those staying behind, which seems to be a win, win for Goa.
There are still families in need as not everyone has yet secured employment, and although buses are available, they are still in short supply and many rely on public transport for getting to and from work. The last few days we have been giving out between 10 and 30 food parcels a day which is way down on what it was and today (Wednesday) we decided to have the morning off! ? Yeah! It was great, we got into the centre around 11 am and then like magic parents starting arriving. First of all a couple of our mothers and then their children, then 3 mothers with babies wanting baby clothes.
Later on a few more arrived wanting food parcels but it was a very relaxing day. As things have nearly returned to normal, I think this will be the last daily post as there?s not so much to say now. I expect to be giving out 50 ? 100 parcels a week perhaps over the next week or two and HOPEFULLY, it will stay that way (or get better), relating to COVID-19 at least. Although it's India anything can happen and I still worry about how few people are being tested. Fingers crossed.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us over the last 6 weeks, everyone has been amazing, the donors, my helpers (Budhmati, Acchelal, Amina, Taslim) who have been the main driving force of the last month along with some of the students (Narendra, Kaveri, Dhaneshri, Kajal and a few more). You?ve all been a great help.
This is just the Mapusa centre, the Trustees and their volunteers have done an AMAZING job too.. Just to give you an idea, they have been giving out more stuff than us AND they are now working to find family member jobs to tide them over until things settle down. Thank you to Ishita, Rahul, and Rhys and all their fantastic volunteers!
It has been a pleasure to be able to help those in need and ensure donations turn into food on plates. Thank you all!
Budhmati and Acchelal went out early on Sunday to give items out to the kids and visited around 30 to 40 families before heading back to the centre, it was a bit of a rush as we already had a list of food parcels lined up to give out. Once they returned Budhmati and Rob went to distribute the food parcels in Duler for 5 families. It was just a quick trip as we had planned to meet up with the tailor in Mapusa as he had organise a supplier of Material for the uniforms that had been on hold since the lockdown began over a month ago.
At this time of year we are normally well on our way to making uniforms for our 150+ students, but due to the lockdown we are well behind. Before the lockdown started we did manage to get the majority of the children measured but ever since all the material shops have been closed which meant the uniforms came to an abrupt stop.
Due to a lucky break we have been able to get hold of two schools' uniform material and have provided that to the tailor so they can get started with the uniforms. We hope as more shops open we will be able to source more material and get through the rest of the children so the uniforms will be ready for when the schools open. I assume they will open at some point.
We returned back to the centre around midday and during the afternoon a stream of people came for food parcels and as the word is spread the registration number for the car is now the main way people find us. We have been out to several homes to do house checks and probably gave out 20 more food parcels in the afternoon and we are finally nearing the end of the Fanta bottles that were kindly given by Coca Cola India.
Thank you to everyone who has helped by donations, help on the ground, my wonderful kids who are always happy to help and the staff who have been here speaking and translating and so much help with packing and sorting over the last month.
We are now coming to the end of the struggle as more and more people are getting a chance to work, but far from everyone, but there is a little work for more people so life is getting easier. We will continue to help our families and anyone who is still in need, but we are so happy that the crazy rush is finally over as things slowly return to normal.
Today we gave out rations to two new families in Para and it was blissfully quiet on the walk up to their homes.
It was quite funny as we got the directions and Budhmati and I headed out on the bike with two bags full of rations and we stopped in the shade of a coconut tree on a road I probably haven't been down for 10+ years and then from behind this black mesh came a voice that said "Robert, Robert's here!" - I thought What!!!
One of the kids and his family lived right next to where I stopped. I had previously helped three of the boys and also one of the girls from the same family, but they had moved away from Mapusa a few years ago so had lost contact. I now know where they stay! - It was just funny to hear this voice appear and I was wearing my face mask so it is impressive he even recognised me.
To be honest, the boy who said my name I didn't recognise as I remember him as a 5 year old boy and he seemed more like 10/12 years old now so when they told me his name - there was more disbelief!
Anyway, a successful day and we hope to be able to return in a day or two with more supplies.
Today was a bit more return to normal as it?s the start of the new month so we went back to giving our children their monthly supplies (Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste, Mosquito protection and other items). A few of the families had been asking a few days early as even though we gave extra last month they seem to have got through it quicker, mainly to do with everyone staying home and wash washing their hands.
We set out around 10am and got back around 2.30 as we went from area to area dropping off supplies and having quick chats with the parents. In the four and a half hours we managed to give out items to 99 students ? It was a very productive morning. While we were out there was a small group of families waiting as we got back to the centre for rations and then during the afternoon a couple more mothers came and we headed out a couple of times to give rations and a few more supplies for the kids.
We gave out Prickly heat powder at the start of last month as the families were stuck at home but as you can see from one of the photos I think we need to buy some more as one of the boys has the itchy bubbles on his head that comes to so many people living in such basic living conditions with the heat and humidity at its highest point. Hopefully, we will be able to get some as last time I check it was out of stock. Fingers crossed.
Tomorrow we are concentrating more on the new school year ? we still have lots of work to do with getting things ready (which we would have normally been doing during the past two months), but with the COVID-19 turning everything upside down we are a bit stuck as we still need to buy lots of supplies and of course get the uniforms stitched with material which we still haven?t got as all the shops are closed. Oh dear ? We don?t even know what the new school year will be like ? as the schools are at least closed for the next 2 weeks, and then who knows? 9th, 10th and 12th need to finish their exams and then get their marks back. It's all up in the air.
Anyway, we will just have to wait and see? That?s it for now?
I have combined these as I was writing a day behind and I thought I needed to update everyone that the Lockdown has been extended nationwide for another 2 weeks so is now set for the 17th of May. Not 100% sure how this will affect Goa as I think we are classed as a green zone, but I am guessing most things will still be restricted, and also lots of police around and road blocks. I am glad that I have only been stopped on one day (although 4 times on that one morning), but it does really put me off going through the roadblocks even if I am not doing anything wrong. It?s a bit like dreading a test that you?ve studied for? Just that dread in the back of your mind?
Yesterday (30th) was a nice day, a friend came to help, the lovely Sunita so it was quite a relaxed day, bought more rations and lots and lots of packing (nearly all have been done by my wonderful helpers ? thank you, Amina, Narendra, Budhmati, Anwarsi, Acchelal Gunjan and Kaveri, I think they have packed getting onto 1000 bags over the last couple of days. Obviously our hope of staying plastic free went out of the window but we ask the families to bring their own bags otherwise we give used rice, flour and dal bags that are starting to pile up at the centre.
As Sunita came just to help for the day she got to ride along and see what we have been doing, she met some of our children and also a few new families that we have only just started giving to. A good mix. We continue to get a steady stream of phone calls and people turning up at the centre, but we continue to check them out as sadly a couple of people have tried to take advantage of our kindness.
Today the 1st of the big news is we have another 2 weeks of lockdown. The good news is that as of now bother North and South Goa are green zones?. Goa has had 7 cases according to covid19india.org and all of those have recovered.
Although Marahastra, just over the border has the highest number of cases of 10,498 with a total of 35,457 listed for India at the time of writing.
Due to Goa being a green zone, it has been said there will be "liberal easing in green zones." I? Not quite sure what this means in practice, but I hope things might become a little easier for the families we have been helping.
I didn't take any photos today so this is one from Acchelals phone