September 26th, 2022
After two and a half years of absence from India, returning here was very painful and sad for us, misery is serious and the notorious port I have been talking about for years is almost ready. It created environmental damage, damage to fishermen’s families, and the atmospheric conditions have so much worsened due to climate change that often it is not possible to go out in the sea. In the last few weeks there have been disasters and one person died. If you look on the web you can read everything about Vizhinjam fishermen.
I found a frightening poverty I will never get used to, and the need to follow closely step by step the conditions of those who suffer. The distance between those suffering from misery and those who can still have one dignified life is so great that people do not want and even cannot imagine.
I see nothing but desperate people who fight with other desperate people, sometimes against other desperate ones.
The middle class is creating a new disease which is already in use in the West: CONSUMERISM which is so frightening to leave you breathless. The ones who can afford it, fill themselves with things, and supermarkets and hypermarkets, that have been there only for the last few years, have been invaded by the crowd devoured by the new game, the purchase. This vision of India is so sad because the “wealth of some” certainly does not prevent the tragic misery of some others.
And all this is now mixed. There is no longer a materialistic West and a spiritualist East, there is a great CHAOS both in one sense and in the other, then after a series of doubts and concerns, I decided to roll up my sleeves, renovate the building left to itself for these two and a half years and give back to the school its strength. Families are exhausted, many have accumulated debts, before there was scarcity of food, now there is almost no food at all, they are all desperate.
Soon everything will start again in the school, while until now in the last two years collecting students at Plato was difficult, impossible, so teachers often went to the houses or gave lessons through video calls, to people piled up in improvised places. Now they wait, hope, dream, and want to come back and stay together.
Together with the Plato School, in Orissa I met a beautiful project I mentioned before, the Siddarthvillage and Herbal Mother Project, where original medicinal plants with large healing properties are grown. Here together with the wonder of the place and the value of cultivation, poverty is hallucinating and I cannot compare it with anything else I have ever met before, perhaps only the worst situations of Nepal. All this sadness and difficulty, as always, comes and moves in me new strength and new courage to help those who are suffering.
I am grateful for your help.
Valeria Viola Padovani