From Northwest Arkansas to Nagapattinam with Love

The pictures are still tinged with sadness, yet not without hope. Memorials dedicated to the buds that were plucked off by Tsunami, even before they could bloom, were seen all over the town and villages. The wayside restaurants are busy cooking, children are back in school, some roads are being constructed as well as a few houses. But not exactly what one would call progress after one year. People still live in the temporary sheds that were set up as a makeshift shelters. Seruthur, a village dear to our heart, remained basically in the same shape we saw it last year–rubble and ruins. The day we went in search of the two children for whom we were carrying Barbie dolls donated by our church’s children, all the villagers had gone to protest before the District Collector’s office, asking for a piece of land where their houses could be relocated. But we could see hope in the eyes of the children orphaned by Tsunami, especially in the eyes of the children who were helped by St. Gabriel’s Tsunami Relief effort and the help of Father Xavier and Mr. Rethinam. This year we added 80 more children to our program giving them each a deposit of $229 (10,000 Indian Rupees). A young girl who told her story of survival through Guideposts for Teens magazine, received over $2,000 raised by the magazine. The boat yard owner who had lost everything was busy, engaging fifty families at work and providing for their families, thanks to the seed money given to him by St. Gabriel’s Tsunami Relief. Two boats, bearing the names, St. Gabriel’s I and St. Gabriel’s II, that our relief funds bought Kameshavaram village were busy serving the village community in their fishing enterprise. Many religious organizations have been engaged in teaching skills other than fishing, like computing, sewing and embroidery. A miniature version of our community college was also in the working. This time they need a building to house the orphans and the learning centers that offer them life’s coping skills. Would you like to be a part of this project? Let us help them to help themselves. If there is anyway you could contact any agency that may be willing to assist with the rebuilding of these children’s lost dreams, by providing them shelter for the orphanage, facilities for the community college, a place for the learning center run by the Bon Secours Nuns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Your help would mean so much to the children and the people of Nagapattinam. God Bless you all!