I went to Vrindavan, India, being of Indian origin, but never having lived in India. I live a comfortable life materially in the U.K. but, I truly wanted to be moved. The inner thirst that needed to be quenched that no amount of pounds or dollars in the UK could.
I was then, told about the “Food for Life Vrindavan” a project headed by Rupa Raghunath Das.
I arrived in Vrindavan. Rupa had incorporated a school that educates young girls from the shanty towns of Vrindavan. The morning assembly had the hairs on the back of my neck stand with true appreciation of the love given to the young girls. After the assembly, I was introduced to four young ladies that had graduated from the school. The girls were so eloquent and articulate. In our conversation with the girls, one young lady invited me and Rupa to supper at her house in a shanty town!
In my bold western spirit I agreed to go to supper with Rupa. We arrived at the house at seven thirty in the evening. It was a small house made of tarpaulin and bricks, no bigger than ten feet by ten feet. Priti, the graduate from the school greeted us with hospitality and love. She invited us into her house, and on an open fire our evening meal was being prepared. We sat in the room which not only acts as a living room but it gets transformed into a bedroom for six family members!
Priti shared her story of how the family survives. The uncertainty of living in temporary accommodation is a threat. Without further ado, Priti’s mother started serving the food, all freshly made, the chapatis hot off the fire. All I can say is that having eaten in five star restaurants all over the world, the meal made by Priti’s family was tasty and my reservations of food poisoning, no way to be feared. We talked and laughed and I understood the meaning of true friendship that evening.
Priti’s family did not have a lot, but they gave me and Rupa everything they possibly could. The evening went by quickly. The stories of the temporary structure that the family lived in got to me. I spoke to Rupa and inquired about how I could make a difference to them. Rupa advised me that a brick building with amenities could be built for £3,000. I agreed to sponsor the building of Priti’s new home. The joy and stability that it has brought to Priti’s family cannot be comprehended.
For me, the experience in Vrindavan has changed me forever. The meal in Priti’s House was the most expensive meal of my life, but, also the most satisfying one. I cannot wait to go back and be of service to FFLV. All I can say is that I lost my heart in Vrindavan.