Covid care kit relief work is possible only if there is regular supply from the stake holders. Here it would be vegetables from the farmers, other non-perishable items from shops and warehouses.
Today is Sunday. However, our grocery procuring and distribution hub was as busy as a bee house! Early in the morning Jesuit Novices were in the hub trying to sort out vegetables and packing them up. We have very good and talented 20 Jesuit Novices for the Karnataka Province. They are the future Society of Jesus. When we have one or two tonnes of tomatoes invariably we have to sort them out especially picking up the rotten tomatoes. If you leave the rotten tomatoes in a big heap, they tend to infect the other good ones and get spoilt very quickly.
We also received a good amount of ration and other grocery items from the main hub at St Joseph's College, Museum Road, Bangalore. In order to unload the big bags weighing 25 kilos we need men who are capable of carrying them for at least a length of 250 feet. The grocery items are kept in the class rooms where as the vegetables in the courtyard of the school. By providence we have enough space to store, pack up and sort out the groceries and other items.
As we received a truck load of grocery and other items, our own farm workers and other people who run our place came to help us. Otherwise, it would be an impossible task. Our workers are very happy people. They did the job within a short span of time. They received Sprite and fresh egg puffs as part of the reinforcement.
Along with grocery items and vegetables, we will be adding soaps into the Covid Care Kits. Due to the strict lockdown, shops are hardly open. Sadly, the stranded migrant workers are afraid to venture out into the market place too. We received a good quantity of boxes filed with soaps. Sorting out the those soap sheets from lengthy plastic ribbons takes quite a lot of your time.
Jesuit Fr Teyol Machado has made Covid Care kit hub as his office, in fact it's an open office. He has his computer on the open table. He does most of his contacting job through mobile or WhatsApp. Whenever we receive a new consignment, he enters the data into his computer. He overseas the whole process. Being a Chief Coordinator of this whole Covid care kit relief work, his eyes are over everything, including encouraging the volunteers to keep the tempo of the work. He is rigorous in planning and executing, quick in decision making and implementing.
Interestingly, in between this work he attends online classes at the Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He is pursuing a Master's degree in Development. Unfortunately, due to the Covid lockdown he has do his classes online which he does very diligently. It seems to me that these classes are a good distraction to him, because what he has been studying at the University as theory, Covid care kit relief work at Mount Saint Joseph has offered him a real practical laboratory.
- Reported by Olvin Veigas, SJ
26th April 2020