We had a good cleanup session as part of LEE, here at Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu. The students told us that there is an unused, dry pond full of waste that the neighbors and small children frequently fall into. We discussed possible solutions to this problem with them. This was one of the major issues that needed to be addressed. We discussed what they could do and showed them YouTube videos of the cleanup drive at Sabarimala, which motivated them to clean the pond—provided that the evening batch also assisted and that they were all provided supplies. The evening batch was consulted and they supported the idea as well. The date was set to Sundayafter 4 p.m.because it would be less hot. Gloves and sacks were provided to collect garbage. I had my doubts that many of them would show up, but, to my astonishment, almost all of them came with great enthusiasm.
The cleaning started at 4:30 p.m. Some collected kerosene, matches, and a small spade from neighboring houses.
Others collected the garbage in heaps and began burning them. People from neighboring houses came to watch the group effort. At about 5:45 p.m., we had to stop, since many of the ladies had to go back to their homes to cook and do other activities. We did not have time to clean up the entire pond; however, some were wiling to continue the work the next day. Several were opposed and said that the following Sunday would be a better day for them. Another filthy, dried up pond to be cleaned is also in the task list for the near future. More than 30 women participated in this event, including students, small girls, and elderly women. It felt like a mini Amala Bharatham Campaign.
After the clean up, we had a group photo session. When they were asked how they were feeling, many of them replied that they felt good inside.
May 30, 2013