Calcutta: Deluge of monsoons, tide of poverty
Rejoice in the Lord always!
I feel deeply affected by your manifestation of love as well as the financial aid your Fraternity offered us these difficult days that we are going through here in India. It is important for us to know that some brothers remember us. Thank you for doing so now, as you have been doing since the beginning of the missionary work in India by the late Fr. Athanasios Anthides.
It is true that I have been late in contacting you, because we have been through fire and water and diseases and needs and difficulties, especially during the last three months. Without electricity or free time for correspondence and with a mind frequently blocking in front of deadlocks!…
It seemed like a deluge coming from Heaven. It had been pouring with rain day and night since August 19th. The city of Calcutta was flooded, and so were we, in the girls’ Orphanage! Rivers and lakes overflew. Roads turned into rivers and the whole place became impassable. Transport in the city can only be conducted with makeshift dinghies made from tree logs.
The first two days, the children seemed to be enjoying it. The rainwater was clear, and they were able to swim and play in the yard, but afterwards it was stirred with dung and sewage from spilt-over sewers and turned into mire. The only good thing was that our yard was filled with fish. We haven’t bought any for three months. God brought them to our door! However, along with the fish, the water drifted in poisonous snakes, which were looking for a dry place… But the only dry place was our buildings, which are fortunately elevated. The water only came to a halt when it was 2 cm. below the top stair of the entrance.
We have made makeshift bridges, on which you must keep a good balance in order to be able to move from one building to another. However, our biggest nightmare was and still is the snakes. Lots of people in our region have died of a snakebite, two of whom were little children. God has protected us by now and, I hope He will be by our side till the end.
Then came the epidemics, by which we weren’t spared. I am currently staying at the boys’ Orphanage. Most of the children are ill with chicken pox. Cherubim, the Orthodox lad in charge here, was also infected and left and so did the cooker with all the staff and the doorkeeper. 58 boys need care. Since I moved here, I’ve been struggling to do everything by myself, working night and day!… Pray that God will help me hold up, until everyone has recovered.
As you know, our region is rural. Due to this torrential downpour though, people’s crops have been totally destroyed. To top it all, the typhoon has uprooted fruit trees and has blown down houses.
Basic foodstuffs are now luxury goods. There is a great shortage of them, so prices have soared! Inaccessible to the majority. People are desperate, homeless and hungry. The come to our mission in hope and beseech for help. My heart breaks. Nobody believes me when I say that I am very sorry but I am unable to help, because I myself can hardly scrape out an existence.
What can I say? On October 29th I needed 3,800 euros for the payroll of teachers, doctors and other staff, but there was only a little money left in our account. This is why initially I said that my mind blocks in front of deadlocks… If it was not for the good God and His love to find a solution at the last minute, we wouldn’t exist today. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
God’s love is big, He often tests us “as gold in the furnace” and eventually He stretches forth His hand smiling and saying to us, “you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
May God give you health and strength and bless the work of your Fraternity.