Doing relief work in a Bollywood, not Hollywood, setting

Both Namarupa and Eddie Stern have posted more first-hand reporting on relief efforts in northern India, following this summer’s massive floods.

A little bit for you with the ever-present reminder that you can donate to Namarupa’s efforts:

Two weeks had passed since my arrival at Sivananda Seva Samiti Ashram to serve doing relief work for the victims of June’s flood, and I was feeling useless: catching information through the mist of the language barrier, with Indian “yes sayers,” head-bobbing, and tasks starting “tomorrow.” It was slow to figure out the situation. We unloaded a truck of supplies to cross the damaged bridge at Gangori, then distributed it to villagers from 15 km around, reaching about 4,000 families. Apart from that I was truly making good use of the auspicious time of year that it was for sadhana, in accordance with Swami Janardananda’s advice, and quite the opposite of my willingness to help. In such a situation sometimes the greatest challenge is to wake up early enough to practice, practice, practice.

So what about relief work? Isn’t there anything to do? Sure there is, and a lot. But this is India. We are not in a Hollywood movie where Bruce Willis saves the world at the last minute. No, we are rather in a Bollywood one, so first we’ll have a chai, then a choreographed routine in the flowers, then a namkeen and then another chai.

Hear that? “A lot” to do. I know, that’s a bit of an aggressive “get to it” take from us. But … you know. Get on it.

Posted by Steve

Namarupa flooding aid effort near $9,000 raised

Over the weekend, Namarupa sent out an update on its effort to aid Rawada Village, one of many communities devastated by the June floods in northern India.

Fundraising is near $9,000. Here’s more:

Please remember this is a long term aid project. We are working towards 3 main aims.


RECONSTRUCTION: Immediate relief for hungry villagers unable to reach traditional routes for food supplies. Food packets have been distributed. Sustainable housing is being investigated – particularly straw bale structures.

EDUCATION: The village children walk a round trip of 16 Km a day and are undernourished. $200 (Rs10,000) will support one child per year. This is 50% of the cost. The other 50% will be born by the parents so that they feel they have contributed as well. 10 children have been enrolled in school already. More children are being identified.

AGRICULTURE: Immediate reconstruction of terraced fields is needed. Long term planning is needed to increase yields with less effort.

You still can donate at the PayPal link on this page. And remember that next summer’s yatra will go through this area and include seva.

Posted by Steve


First-hand report from flood-ravaged Uttarakhand

Namarupa has posted a first-hand account of the terrible flooding in northern India. Remember, you can help establish long-term relief for the thousands affected by clicking here.

Here’s a link to the full account, and a bit:

Situation in Kedarnathji was very drastic thousands of pilgrims and small shop owners pony riders lost their lives in massive flood.

Whole day we work to save people. People were sitting next to dead bodies of human lives and animals. All were looking same like a beggar. With out food water and shelter people have no choices.

It was very painful period for me too. As every day we fly at six having only a cup of tea and eat dinner while we come back at six in evening or some time at seven. Whole day it was hard to drink even a glass of water in that situation  where people were dying without food and medicine.

Again, you can help via Namarupa.

Posted by Steve


Namarupa to aid Ravada Village in flooding aftermath

A little more details on how Namarupa — the publication run by Eddie Stern and Robert Moses — is planning to help those affected by the past weeks’ horrific monsoon flooding in northern India.

As of today, the death toll stands around 800, with several thousand people still unaccounted for and likely stranded still in the mountains. Some Indian officials are guessing the death toll may end up around 10,000.

Here are the questions Namarupa is asking:

It is all very well to send some money and relief supplies after a tragedy on the scale of these floods. But what happens after that? What happens to the inhabitants of a village that has been cleared off the map? What happens to the children How do people pick up and resume their lives?

To answer them, the group has enlisted partners and will focus long-term aid on Ravada Village. More:

A group of small organizations has banded together to help. See below. We will focus our initial attention on RAVADA VILLAGE near the Asi Ganga, a tributary of the Bhagirati (as the Ganga is called here) and about 15 Km from Uttarkashi. Aid will concentrate on three spheres:
1. Initial donations will help reconstruct homes and fields.
2. Long term sustainable agricultural projects and training.
3. Education of the children for future employment.

For more you can and should click this link. It includes how to donate via the Broome St. Temple.

Posted by Steve