Little Tales of Heart And Hope: #BeatTheVirus Isha Diaries - Part 1
The battle for survival is raging across the globe as medical professionals, volunteers, and police toil hard to keep us all safe. Isha Outreach volunteers are in the villages, on the frontlines of the war against COVID-19. We bring you snapshots.
Braving all odds
Armed with compassion and grit, the Isha Outreach volunteers are braving all odds to keep vulnerable village communities safe. Waking up at the crack of dawn and walking for many kilometers every day in the hot summer sun, they fan out to different villages in Coimbatore to bring hope, dole out food, relief materials and tell local residents about the benefits of maintaining hygiene and social distance.
The diligence and selfless efforts of Isha volunteers have inspired villagers to join the battle against Coronavirus. In Narasipuram panchayat, villagers recently stepped up to volunteer for the campaign. They are helping distribute food and other relief material among villagers. Fear of going hungry and apprehensions of an uncertain future are fast giving way to trust and confidence in the reassuring presence of Isha volunteers.
In villages of Vellimalaipatinam panchayat, the tireless efforts of Isha volunteer Yaswanth inspired a group of 17 villagers to support him in providing food and other relief material to the residents.
Children show the way
Children are the most emphatic supporters for the Isha Outreach volunteers as they are more attuned and receptive to the Coronavirus awareness campaigns. Right from maintaining social distance to frequent washing of hands, the children through their innocent obedience are setting an apt example for their parents and other elders in most villages.
Distribution of Nilavembu Kashayam - a bitter, herbal drink to boost immunity - is greeted with long queues in all villages. Though its bitterness does pose a challenge, in most villages children are the first to queue up for the herbal immunity-booster.
A 5-year-old boy with his 3-year-old sister in tow approached the volunteers to get their daily dose of Nilavembu Kashayam in Perur village. The boy drank the bitter immunity-booster drink without any complaint but when Swami Sankalpa handed out a cup of the herbal drink to his sister, the boy quietly advised: “Don’t say it is Kashayam, she will not drink it. Tell her that it is black tea.” The advice worked and the little girl drank the Nilavembu Kashayam thinking it is tea. Though she did make a face because it was bitter, her brother was quick to explain to her the benefits of this herbal drink.
When a volunteer reached a village in Vellimalaipatinam panchayat to distribute Nilavembu Kashayam and spread awareness among the villagers, a little girl chose to play the role of a silent guide. The girl took the volunteer patiently to various households of the village to help him distribute the herbal drink. Surprisingly enough, the girl maintained a studious silence as she helped the volunteer.
Reciprocating the kindness
There has been an outpouring of care and gratitude for the steadfast volunteers in the villages. Concerned for the well being of volunteers, residents of some villages have offered shaded structures and spots for conduction of the relief activities.
One day, after toiling hard in the morning and a long, grueling walk in the sweltering afternoon heat, Swami Tapasnidhi stopped in a village to catch his breath and also to make some notes in his diary about the relief activities. Swami was moved when a girl walked up to him and offered him a chair to rest a while before resuming his relief activities.
It was a pleasant surprise indeed for a group of thirsty and tired Isha volunteers who were treated to tender coconut and bananas by a farmer. A volunteer later said: “He refused to take any money for the coconuts and bananas that he gave us. He insisted that it was his contribution to our campaign. It was a heartwarming experience for us all.”
Shedding their initial inhibitions, villagers have warmed up to the Isha volunteers and readily follow their advice on health and hygiene safety measures. When Jayakumar was in Narasipuram, hunting for the right spots to stick awareness posters, villagers came to his aid. Local volunteers took him around the villages and pointed out locations with the best visibility.
Disregarding personal comfort, knocking on every door, volunteers are on a relentless awareness campaign. The message is clear & simple: Prevention is better than cure.— Rally For Rivers - Cauvery Calling (@rallyforrivers) April 24, 2020
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