Finding myself since two months and a half in a ‘ Disaster Zone’, I understand better than ever how miserable and discouraged and bitter the people of Haiti can be, who more than a year after their horrendous earthquake still live under shabby tents with sorry sights of destruction still visible all around them and practically everywhere else they might go to on their island.
Lots of crops of all kinds were lost, though, and that too hurt.
My house in itself was fine, except for some of the glass sliding panels that constitute the facade of my room upstairs.
The casualty I found out about last wasn’t the least: it was my beloved laptop, a little Apple ibook, ten years old but still going faithfully until the night of the cyclone: the next day, when I tried to start it, it wouldn’t work at all; and one week later the Auroville specialist I had given it to informed me that it was unrepairable: the mother board itself was the problem and for such an old model would be nearly impossible to find.
It is three personal donations by friends from abroad that have enabled me later on to replace that dear laptop I lost to the cyclone, after the Aurovilians at the Cyclone Help Desk had told me this kind of need (like also the repair of someone else’s bike crushed under a hut) couldn’t be covered and we would have to find funds ourselves.
When some funds did come, though, I realized that paradoxically Aurovilians working in the administration didn’t always see those specified donations as a good thing, but as the unfair result of egoistic and separatist fund-raising…
This was not true in our case: such specified donations often come spontaneously, without anybody having asked for it or done any fund-raising; simply people around the world who happen to know and appreciate Auroville through some specific Aurovilians they have met and learnt about the work and place of; if they cannot or would not give for Auroville as a whole, at least they will give for those Aurovilians they have befriended. It was the case for the donations we were sent, and I don’t see any harm in this.
In other occasions, while some of us travel, we may mention to the people we meet some project or place or aspect of Auroville we are aware needs money, and later on when a specified donation comes for that project or place, nobody will even know that those Aurovilians were actually the origin of that donation. It has been the case for some of us in Repos, although we kept quiet about those individual spontaneous but successful efforts at actual fund-raising to help Auroville at large.
Most probably, even when it is not a disaster time, quite a lot of extra money comes in this way to Auroville, that is very useful in helping cover very legitimate needs that Auroville itself wouldn’t have had enough funds for.
When it happens, as it just did, that some donations come specified for us in Repos, which shows actually that some people elsewhere do appreciate this little place on the Auroville beach and want it to continue to exist and be able to welcome them again in the future, it feels really good.
We had been told earlier that Auroville couldn’t help us repair our guest-huts now or in the near future, as there wereso many more urgent needs to attend to; but in the specific case of Repos, where the guest-huts are the only source of income and where the very survival of the place depends on it, these unexpected donations coming in such a timely manner have been a total blessing, a divine Grace helping us out directly when Auroville couldn’t. Auroville should simply be happy about that, it seems to me.
After the first month finally electricity was restored to our place and the pumps started functioning again, which was just great as we could have running water again; in the meantime we had been very happy to have at least a few hand-pumps to draw water from… Some remarkable, adventurous guests – a young Indian couple from far away – had cheerfully braved the conditions and insisted to stay in the extra-room I have upstairs. For the ten days that they lived there with me, they remained cheerful like two real pioneers, in spite of the candle light and torchlight at night and the scarcity of water for all daily normal needs.
During the cyclone, they helped keep in the right places the thick towels preventing the glass panels around the top of the staircase from being shattered to bits against the high granite posts that bar the way to thieves in my tall windows; then later on we worked together to dry the flooded floor downstairs; and still later when daylight came back they ventured outside on foot among the fallen trees and the unusable roads everywhere, bringing back the food we all needed in our common refuge, and the first news we also longed to have of what had happened and was happening in the other parts of Auroville and surrounding region.
For communication wasn’t obvious: no telephone lines any more, of course, and cell phones do need to be recharged after a while; my house, with the precious UPS and solar panels I have, has been for a few weeks the place where employees just like other Repos residents were all coming to recharge not only their cell phones but also their torch-lights and anything else of use in such emergency situations.
At night obviously the poor watchman does what he can, but mostly sleeps, desperate in front of the impossible task falling on him: to guard several hundred meters of still unfenced Repos perimeter on the beach side… with several areas inside not properly lit again yet and not easy to cross, with all the piled up branches or pieces of trunks still lying here and there on the ground and providing ideal hiding spots to would be thieves – or, even worse for the watchman: snakes.
This is why, even though since fifteen days I have had again a means – my new, mini-laptop – to go on at last with this interrupted blog, I didn’t do it. I kept silent. Now I feel all right again, healed somehow, and able to start speaking meaningfully about it all: blogging doesn’t seem too much of a luxury any longer, I am coming back to meet again those of you who might still want to follow this Research blog of mine, this blog on Conscious Evolution, whatever the outer circumstances…