Donating the Relief Materials
Based on the survey that we had taken on Friday, we realised that people needed cooking utensils more than food. Many villagers had said that they have been receiving enough rice and dal but they didn’t have utensils to cook them. So we decided to use a the first installment of funds collected though blogs on cooking materials. We headed to Ratna Stores in Pondy Bazaar, a shop known for quality stuff at reasonable prices.
It was a good thing I took my wife along. She was able to point out all bare essential utenils that a family would need. We bought wick stoves, ‘eversilver’ plates, ladles and tumblars here.
I learnt some crucial lessons. I learnt that ‘eversilver’ utensils are not best suited to be used on kerosene stoves or firewood stoves. So we have to move to another shop to buy Indalium utensils which can withstand stronger heat. We bought utensils to cook rice and dal, Kadai, lids and knives here.
If buying these stuff amongst the crowd was difficult, paying the bill was even more difficult. We haggled and worked out a 10% discount on the bill amount. I wanted to spend not more than half hour max at the shops but it took us close to two hours to finish the shopping.
We managed to squeeze in all the materials into my trusty old Martuti 800.
We headed for ‘Puthu Nemmeli Kuppam’ hamlet which is about 50 kilometers away from Chennai. This is the hamlet that I had visited two days ago. When I reached there, the first thing I noticed were two water tanks installed. Good. The villagers were ealier complaining that the borewell that was sunk in was giving only murky water and they had no choice but to drink that. It’s good to know they are getting drinking water supply.
We noticed three vans with relief materials. It was 7:30 in the night and still relief work was going on.
Relief workers from Taiwan had come. These are buddist monks from an organisation called BLM who had come with relief materials. They couldn’t speak english and were interacting with the villagers with sign language.
It was time to unload the materials we had brought. The villagers had set up a sort of a welcome committe, a group of people waiting near the main road to welcome in relief people. I asked for the Panchayat chief and they showed me one. He didn’t look like the one I saw two days back. I wanted to play safe. I didn’t want a few people sharing all the goodies.
So I asked for Parasuraman, the man who took the effort to take me around the hamlet and explain the damages that took place. He is the guy in shorts and violet shirt that you see in the picture. I doubled checked with him. Meanwhile a small crowd had gathered which gave me the comfort feeling. We started to unload the materials.
The villagers expressed their thanks and I would like to pass this on to all the people who contributed and all the bloggers who spread the word around. It’s a true global collective effort and we should all be proud of it.
Here’s a strong message to relief organisations. If you are looking to contribute, please look beyond Chennai. There is ample relief coming in from the city people for the hamlets that are around Chennai. I feel all relief must now be directed to other places which have been more severely affected.
I’m not even talking about Nagapattinam or Cuddalore. Those too are getting decent aid thanks to good media coverage. I’m talking about those unknown small coastal villages. Now the challenge is to identify them and make sure the relief materials reach them. That should be focus now.