Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Of Ramadan Charity and Mishaps


Ramadan is going along fine, but totally depressing as more and more sad news pours in about the flood victims and the hardships they are facing. I am yet again saying this, please people... if you have not donated anything up til now, and you're reading this, chances are that you are sufficiently well off to be able to donate a day's salary/a little something from your pocket money/a portion of last year's Eidi/some clothes from your wardrobe, anything to the flood victims! More important is the edible stuff - anything like dates, nuts, other dry fruits, ready meals, instant soups etc can do.

So we had decided (after much concern and worry about where our donation will be going), to give our stuff to the ''Relief project for Pakistan" - an initiative taken by Soufia Siddiqi, who is a Rhodes Scholar 2010. I communicated with her, and this turned out to be a very genuine efffort. So if you want further details on how to contact her/give donations/do online money transfer, do visit the link above and help out.

So... we had to get instant meals today. I picked Chotpo from her university, and then we went to Naheed Super Market. Now, Naheed used to be quite a cramped congested place, but now they have gotten a bigger store. Man! Awesome. So much walking space ... it looked like a park! Only the ''park'' was lined with goodies. So manyyy chocolates :(.. keh bus nahi. I'm digressing :S.. We went to the dry fruits section. Nuts were too expensive :$, and if we had bought them, we would only have been able to take up a few packets and nothing besides that. So we ended up taking raisins (kishmish), chanas, meetha chanas, chuwaray, instant soups, and rewriaan. Then, we went on to dates and picked out some packets of that. Finally, we got to the ready meals section and put everything within reach into the overflowing trolley. Instant masoor pullaao, instant curries, daals (lentils), aalo bhujya, chicken biryanis what not. All went into the trolley. A worker there eyed us, amazed. Then asked ''Ap log baher jarahay hain kia?'' (Are you guys going abroad?). We grinned, and said ''Nopes, we want to send this to the flood victims" - he was so surprised! (and that makes me sad, cuz hello, everybody should be like ''ohhh... of course, why didn't we think of that!"). Anyway, as we lugged the heavy trolley to the check out counter, we got some really weird stares. Hmmm... I don't think anybody in their right minds would get this much stuff for their homes ! should have been understood that this is all flood victim relief stuff. All that was packed in bags (we got a loyalty card too! yayy :$), and then went to the car.

Our next stop was TCS, where we stumbled in, carrying all the heavy bags. As soon as the bags were inspected and a huge 25kg box brought out, without our even saying it, the manager of that place (I guess) had guessed exactly why this box was being sent. And I was amazed at his helpfulness when he learned that this was for the flood victims. He brought out some chairs, made us sit - then carefully packed in the stuff so that 2 boxes weren't needed (as one of the employees had predicted)... then he proceeded to give us his number so that anytime we have anything for relief work, we just give him a call, and wherever in Karachi we are, he's going to come and pick up all the heavy stuff... !!!!!!!!
Can you believe the enthusiasm and jazba he had for the country and its suffering people? I was beyond amazed. And very happy at this attitude. It's hard to find sometimes, but it's there :).

Then we had an envelope too... being mailed to the same place. We thought that the envelope would go separately. But the TCS people said to us to put the envelope in the box, so that ''your cost is saved'' .. :D. Man... I was in shock at this totally ''not-thinking-just-about-profit-attititude". I asked them .. ''You have cargo services, why not assign a plane to take the relief goods for free to the affected areas? It's such a great opportunity!" ... the man very very sadly said ...
"You know... we had this kind of a service when the earthquake struck Pakistan in 2005. But the medical/pharma companies began to abuse this service, and started sending heavy consignments ...claiming that they were for earthquake victims, but in actuality, those weren't .. !. So we stopped this service." He further said ''Well, this time around, the people are sleeping... they were disappointed that their efforts/donations didn't really reach the victims, and were swallowed by ''elements'' somewhere along the way.. so obviously, people are not donating now."

Sigh. What a totally low point in Pakistan's life, that people aren't trusting ANYBODY. Everybody is being looked at with the same ''Oh they're going to eat up our stuff... already there is too much inflation and price hike, we already have meagre resources, and we don't want these crooks to eat all that up" .. :(.

But I was really impressed with the TCS personnel... I had truly not expected such amazing effort on their part. They also provided me with a number in their Lahore office, so that if anybody living in Lahore wants their stuff picked up and taken to the TCS, they can simply call them up and they'll do so. So we left that place, with our hopes high and hearts uplifted, really believing that there is some hope to this country's survival, even in this gloom!

So mishaps now...? (Should I talk about something idiotic, after talking about worthy stuff?). No :$ I shouldn't. Suffice it to say...these advices are for me! :$

Take care all, and remember, any and every act of kindness/charity is multiplied by a LOT especially if done in this month. A family fed on your donations... might just be one of the sources of salvation for you on the Day of Judgement. So don't miss this chance and reach out to Pakistan's flood victims. And do pass on these messages to your peers.

Allah Pa Amaan!


majworld said...

thanks for sharing ur i read UN declared it as biggest disaster on earth to date..nd one third of pak been flooded..And well, i hve donated money too..hope those organizations can translate those money in to something productive for the victims. I read somewhere that cash money is better as organizations can themselves decide nd buy according to need..nd yes, its time of need when we need to donate..

Uni said...

Biggest disaster on earth ? :S. That sounds terrible :(. I so wish I were a billionnaire... or maybe I was as rich as our President...he's worth billions!... I could have made so much more use of that money :@. Stupid government richies!

Yes, cash is better. But some organisations also need dry food items like the ones mentioned in this post for distribution... I hope more and more people help out IA.

Thanks so much for dropping by.

Nikki. said...

Im glad sister that you met people who not only helped you but showed transparency in their work. SEE now a days nobody is trusting anybody is because of the fact that there is no transparency left, They say transfer your money in so and so account, How on Earth will we know where our money is being used neither do you show us receipts of your work nor your relief efforts.
Situation is far beyond being horrible.

Uni said...

But situation isn't all that bad.. there are good people out there too :)

Thanks for dropping by!!