The entry of the deadly Corona virus into India and the immediate lockdown of the entire nation, has made thousands of people penniless and many deprived of their most basic necessities of life. In this context, there was a constant appeal from our Archbishop Dr Peter Machado, to be sensitive to one’s neighbor. He encouraged the Church community to reach out in charity as much as possible; to feed those who were hungry by providing them with food grains and to offer shelter to the confused and stranded migrant labourers in these uncertain times.
We at St Martha’s tried to reach out to those in need with food grains and accommodation as much as we could within the campus. But there was a deep desire within me to go beyond our walls in search of the sheep who need our generous hearts and hands.
So, on 3rd June 2020 along with Dr. Abraham, our community medicine doctor, Mrs. Umavathi, hospital social worker, Sr. Shanty Chacko and I set out on our journey to a place 20 km away from the city of Bangalore. It is a place beyond Magadi Road on the main highway.
We had taken food grain packets and masks with us. The food grain packets contained rice, dal, pulses and oil. After a 45 minutes journey we reached a spot on the side of a main road. The vehicle suddenly stopped taking a turn to the right, just inside vacant land that was supposed to be Government property filled with bushes grown wild. As the people saw our vehicle stopping near their abode, they came quickly one after the other to us. We could see in between the bushes here and the tops of some huts covered with torn plastic sheets attached to one another in different colors which were hurling in the wind. Not one but eighteen of such huts. This is the shelter for eighteen families with fifty-five members all in all. They include men, women, youth and children.
Our conversation with them slowly revealed their story. They are a family of rag-pickers picking up all the waste of the city to beautify our city. The very people who clean our city are living in such an inhuman situation not knowing what is ahead of them. One moment I thought to myself, the whole world is struggling, writhing in pain because of corona virus. But to these people, what is corona? Where to stay safe? When and where to keep social distance? Let alone how to wash hands frequently with soap, when they thirst and struggle for drinking water! These phrases or slogans have little or no meaning in their lives.
The full story continues in the link below.
Click here - St Martha's Stretched out its Wings
Sr. Gracy Thomas RGS
St. Martha’s Hospital