My day started at 5:30 AM when I got a call from one of the volunteer asking me some doubts about the costume to put on. Reached office at 7:20 as we were expected to gather at 7:30. Everyone started coming in from the moment I reached and the last person reached around 8:40. Two tempo travelers were waiting for us and we(23 volunteers from IBM, one on bike and one staff from Habitat for Humanity) started our journey at 8:45 from DLF IT Park. Oops, sorry guys.. Forgot to tell you where we were going.. rewinding back!!!!
Yesterday, I had registered for a NGO called Habitat for Humanity. Our basic human needs are Food, Clothes and shelter. Habitat as the names says helps develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities. Under the "Prevention and Elimination of Bonded Labour in South Asia” (PEBLISA), 32 bonded labourers (25 families) from rice mills in the Red Hills area of Tamil Nadu were rescued and located them back in their home village of Bangarampet in Thiruvallur District. Even though the government provided grant to built their own houses, they further required financial support. This is were Habitat team comes to picture. Habitat along with JVI(Justice Venture International)responded with technical help. They were able to get volunteers from many corporate firms and help assisted the families to built the houses. The project is in its final phase now, 21 houses needed white washing and this is where we come into picture. All our volunteers were split into 5 groups and were allotted a day for each group. I belonged to the second group and 16th was the date given to us.
So coming back to where I left, our journey started at 8:45 and most of them dressed in some nice clothes and some already in old dresses to do their painting job. Once we reached the spot at 10:30, we sort of had an orientation session on what to do and what not to do and were divided into groups and each group was given a house to be painted. Guna, Solomon, Sri, Jaci, Edwin and me were the team. Guna and me started our work with the right side of the outer wall with Guna taking care of the upper wall and me the lower part. We had transformed to professional painters wearing hard helmets, gloves and goggles. Gloves were not helpful as we were not comfortable with it, so most of us removed it. Guna did a great job by painting the wall as well pouring the paint over me so by the end of painting a wall, I was drenched in Sunnambu.. :D Jaci and Sri were all-rounders. They took care of inside, outside and everywhere and moreover not one drop of paint was on them but lasted till the morning break only. We didn't expect that we would have so much for the break.. Lots of water, juices, biscuits, lays and so on.. Well you can imagine what we would have done and so after the break, I went inside to try my luck with the ladder. Somehow got up using the ladder and started my painting inside with Jaci and Sri. :-)
Lunch time!! Most of us were almost complete with the white washing inside and out and started with the color paints on the outer. One group - they call themselves Team of Terror had their lunch only after completing their painting work. We painted, repainted and had fun in all the ways possible. Finally, when the entire house was painted, it was beauty - The effort of 6 people who are not skilled in painting but still made it. The occupants of the house was very happy to see their house beautiful (I am not pretty sure about it whether they are cursing us for our work) but still they looked happy to us. I remember a conversation a kid had with one of the volunteer. It goes like this...
Kid - Anna, what color is the paint?
Volunteer - Pink, why are you asking?
Kid - My shirt color is also Pink then. (He was wearing a pinkish shirt) Ennaku intha veedu romba pudichi iruku anna. Ennoda shirt color laye iruku... means he likes the house a lot as it is same of his shirt color.
Volunteer - smiles
This made many of us realize how important this house was to their inmates. Felt good to be a part of the great initiative. :-)
We started our journey back at 3:30 and made a stop in Pondi Reservoir and reached office at 6:00 PM. A memorable trip indeed!! :-)