In the service of people’s efforts, a colleague joined Mariam, a mother of 2 grown up children as she prepared to distribute 120 packets of food to her neighbours. Mariam has been living in her 2-room public rental flat the past 10 years and she revealed that she has not exactly been socialising with neighbours and had preferred very much to keep to herself. This Ramadan though, she had been reaching out to her neighbours by providing a packed meal every Saturday.
There was a queue 15 minutes before the stated distribution time and the event was over in 15 minutes after the first packet of food was passed out. Our colleague arrived early with much enthusiasm but soon realised that there was not much to do as Mariam, her son, daughter, and daughter-in-law had it all sorted out. However, it was not just their sound distribution process that made the work efficient but the cordiality and cooperation among those who came.
It was not just Muslims who were picking up the meals and the common link among them was not religion but the shared appreciation for an extra packet of food. Though she claims that she keeps to herself, Mariam had observed how much her neighbours valued a gift of food. Food distribution exercises were fairly common, and she got a sense that many of her neighbours depended on them to get by. “The nasi biryani today is nice but even if it was something else, I never see a balance,” Mariam told us.
Our colleague was also pleasantly surprised when Mariam revealed that it was her son who had inspired her to take on the challenge of raising funds among friends and their networks to fund the initiative. She recalled that as a teenager, her son was often helping with food distribution and other activities and he was always proud and happy about his efforts. She could see how those activities had impressed on him the value of caring for others and even though he is living elsewhere with a family of his own, his friends and him come back to assist with neighbourhood activities.
Mariam then introduced her son to our colleague, and she got to hear about neighbourhood activities and the work of our organisation way before she joined us. This young man will move out of the neighbourhood soon, but he assured us that memories of life in the neighbourhood will always move him to return as a volunteer. When we are in the service of people’s efforts, service becomes an effortless instinct among people.
Wishing your family, friends and you good health and peace of mind.
There is a force within that gives you life. Seek that. – Rumi