“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”
– Mother Teresa
It has been around one year & a half since I joined CommunityAction(CA). CA arranges a general meeting every year where all of its Actioneers are invited. Till now, I have joined one of those, in 2011. On that day, in the middle of a speech, one speaker asked how many of the Actioneers attended Action: Piyaju-Beguni(APB) till now. Almost all of the hands (one of every two, to be precise) present there shot up, excluding a very small number. My hand was one of those.
Then all on a sudden, I was made the area leader for Mirpur area’s APB this year. The first thing I did was gobbling up all the blog posts that Actioneers wrote after last year’s APB, sharing their experience. Not only that, I knocked experienced people to know how to run this one-day event & all. I was pretty happy to find a significant number of people who were interested to join the Action in my area.
We held our Pre-Action Meeting around a week before the event day. It was mainly designed for introducing CA & its values to the newcomers. We played ice-breaking games; talked about CA & its mission-vision-values; got acquainted with the motive & details of APB on that day. We agreed to meet two days prior to the event at the same place to sum the donations up, plan the routes where to distribute the ‘iftaar’, & divide the shopping among the volunteers.
There were some more new faces that turned up on the second day & we were overwhelmed to find out that our collected donations were enough for us to reach our target iftaar packets. We could feed 1000 mouths (this is the highest number of packets shared in any area this year)! Waheed agreed to manage the begunis, Mahi the piyajus, Niloy the chops, Tanny the cupcakes, Arefin the guavas, Anne & Amily(the two sisters, we had three pairs of sisters in our area! :D) the biscuits, & Zafree agreed to donate most of the dates. Shoaib decided to buy the packets. We fixed four places to distribute the iftaar.
On the event day – August 14, there turned up another handful of new Actioneers! Some started washing the guavas & cutting those. Together we started to pack the iftaars. The previous plan was to form circles or lines where one person will pass the packet to another, each putting one item in the packet – this could save much time. But as we were somewhat ‘hot-headed’ at that time, it didn’t occur to us at first & we started packing in a bit unorganized way. But we could manage to finish packing around 4:30 pm & the groups started leaving for the distribution spots one by one.
Three of the four groups successfully wrapped up the iftaar sharing a good while before Maghrib. However, our group of six left for distribution around 5:30 pm, not to mention we were the last group to leave. We were the only group who planned to keep on distributing on our way & didn’t have one specific spot fixed beforehand. While driving towards Mirpur 1, we only got a handful of children scattered here & there. Then we went to Ahsania Mission Girls’ Madrasa & Orphanage & shared the iftaar with the 60+ kids there. By that time we’ve started panicking a bit, as only 15-20 minutes were left before iftaar time & we still had many packets left with us. Actioneers from the other spots started calling to inform that their distribution was over. We planned to go back to our packing venue & keep sharing the packets on the way.
To cut a long story short, we finished our job almost half an hour after the Adhaan. Despite taking so long, all of us heaved a sigh of relief that we could share all the packets.
Those Actioneers who missed an appropriate iftaar that day while sharing iftaar with the kids, I apologize to them from my part as it was my responsibility to manage everything on time. Every single person who participated in Mirpur APB deserves heartfelt thanks from me. Our endeavor would not be possible without your sincere co-operation.
Thanks to Nadim, Titly, Sadia & Emon for attending the meeting but missing the event :P (I hope we will meet in many future Actions); Omar & Shoaib for arranging the packing place; Waheed, Noman, Tanny & Rubaiya for their cars; Waheed, Niloy, Mahi, Arefin, Zafree, Tanny, Anne & Amily, Shoaib, Nahid for the begunis, piyajus, chops, guavas, dates, cakes, biscuits, boxes & packets (respectively!). Thanks very much to those who attended both the Pre-Action Meeting & the Action (this was highly recommended!). Thanks to Azbina, Rayhana, Shawzia apu, Orin, Amily, Shammi, Fatmi bhaiya, Farooqui bhaiya, Noman, Yaad & friends (I still don’t know their names L), Meraj, Rubaiya, Baishakhi, Zarifa, Shoumyo, Andalib, Saeed, Sushmoy, Rishta, Muskan & everyone else for working so dedicatedly in the packing & distribution process. Hopefully I have not missed any name!
Waheed is probably the person who sacrificed the most in this Action – he lost his less than a year old cell-phone to hijackers while bringing the flavored milk packets from Shahjahanpur to Mirpur on the night before the Action. It was the only saddening incident in our whole Action.
I’m wrapping my article up now, but not in the hope of finishing the story, rather to begin it. I am very hopeful that I will again & again meet these faces in the future Actions, the long-term ones which will in the long run help us become moral, influential & professional citizens of our country & good human beings of the universe. That is the true goal of CommunityAction & the motto of our Actioneers.
Even a smile is charity! :)