When I started the Kids for Kids Program (Friends of GATE) in Facebook, I wondered how am I to go around collecting stationery for the school children that Srila Gurudeva started in Navadvipa. GATE stands for Golden Avatar Trust Education Initiative and by the order of my Srila Gurudeva, some of my godsisters and godbrothers are doing great service in providing free education besides incorporating kirtans and hari-katha into the school curriculum.
The strong desire to do some service, kept me going. I told this venture to my students. At first they gave me blank stares. Then a little boy, gave his pencil. Another little girl gave her unused eraser. The ball started rolling from there. From colour pencils to sharpeners, note books and little purses. I know they cannot buy new ones. So my idea was to get them to part with anything that they don't need. Instead of throwing the stationery away, they can give it to others. But it most be in good condition. Children here are very fortunate in material terms. But if they were to help the children of the holy land in Navadvipa, then they are surely accumulating sukriti (spiritual pious activities).
Besides children, some teacher friends and a nurse chipped in as well. But the best part of all, when the temple sevaks were cleaning the temple one day, they found a box filled with pencil cases. In each pencil case there was a ruler, an eraser, sharpener and pencils. There were 69 pencil cases! The temple sevaks knew of my project, so they gave the box to me. But I was apprehensive at first. First of all we do not know to whom the box belonged to. We asked around and nobody came to make the claim.
After taking it, the collection of stationery was pretty complete. To make the work faster, someone threw a nice big rope at my husband's office. In fact we were looking for a rope to tie the box. We actually got a nice brown box from a grocery store nearby. When we wanted to take the ones the shop usually puts outside, a worker saw us and said he will give a nice box instead.
Then it was to the post office. Getting a parking was highly unlikely as the post office is situated near a wet market. But once we were there, it was as though by divine arrangement there was a lot just waiting for us in front of the post office. My husband and I tied the rope tightly around the box. We were afraid the stationery might come out. So we taped and tied everything to the best of our ability. When we weighed the box it was 19.990kgs. What a relief! By sea mail, we were only allowed the maximum weight of 20kgs. The very friendly staff told us that it will take at lease 1 to 3 months to reach the designated address.
Soon I e-mailed the school to inform them about the parcel that is coming their way. It was a big surprise, that within less than a month the school contacted me and said they received the parcel. They gave some stationery to the children and the rest to be distributed during Guru Purnima, where Sripad Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja was there as well.
Please click here for the full story: http://goldenavatartrust.com/2012/07/golden-avatars-4th-anniversary/
From the turn of events that happened, from the rope, the box of stationery, parking etc, it was Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's big play. Everything was His doing.
O yes, at the time the parcel was sent, GATE had about 69 to 70 students. Two students of mine gave away their pencil cases to make the number quite complete.
My only prayer is to be an instrument and a servant in Srila Gurudeva's and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's play.