India 2010/11

Another year has passed, and I have returned from two months in Tiruvannamalai with “our” widows.  There is much to report!

The most fantastic piece of news is that the government of Tamil Nadu has committed to construct 4 to 5 houses for the poorest people in each village, annually.  We experience such great joy to hear (and see) that this is happening! This year, I was so happy to be able to bring a group of people from the USA and Germany to Tiruvannamalai.  This was a great success, and we experienced pure happiness to bask in the wonderful presence of the holy hill, Arunachala.  We enjoyed Yoga classes on the hotel rooftop, and rode bicycles through the rice fields to meet the widows in the outlying villages.  We were warmly greeted by the villagers as we visited houses which had been renovated during 2010, and distributed the monthly pension to the widows.

We were all deeply moved by this encounter, feeling the love, unity, & happiness.  In these moments of pure bliss, we came to feel the Heart of India, and came to experience the “gift in the giving!”

Now that your donations were no longer needed for renovating the houses of widows in the villages, we looked at how the monies might best be put to use. Dr. Werner of Shantimalai Ashram made the suggestion of a hospice for the elderly women who live in the streets.  I immediately remembered my encounter with that desperate woman in 2003, and knew instantly that this was my mission!  (see article “How it all began“)

Thus, came about the birth of “Om Shanti Hospice”!  The Ashram contributed a beautiful house which resides in a little village that is just a 10 minute bicycle ride from Tiruvannamalai. There is space enough for 10 – 15 women.  The plan is to have 3 young widows who will work here, taking care of the patients day and night.  Dr. Werner, himself, will provide medical care. Two more bathrooms and toilets are added to those already existing in the building, and plans are for a beautiful organic garden to be added, as a self-sustaining measure.  The airy rooftop provides a beautiful view overlooking the rice fields that lie at the foot of Arunachala.

The cost for supporting the hospice (salary for the caregivers, food, water, electricity at the hospice, as well as the monthly pension for the now 82 widows in the community) is nominal, and your donations make it all possible!

Your generosity and support not only provides food for the widows’ bodies, but for their souls as well.  It is the love with which you give that lets our sisters know that they are cared for.

Thank you for your continued financial contributions, and your prayers!  They work!

Arunachala!  Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!

Anna