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From the Field
Relief Workers' Report

UNITED SIKHS, an international non-profit human development NGO, is currently working to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. Current UNITED SIKHS projects include relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nicobar Islands, South India, and Aceh, Indonesia.

Field Report from Hargobind Singh

Hi everybody,

It feels like I have been out of the US for months. It has been a wild little ride to get to Campbell Bay. We flew by plane to Port Blair and then found out all the seats on the helicopters to the island were taken. We decided to jump on a boat out two hours later and set sail. It was pretty cool, until we realized we did not have a cabin. No problem, you know us MPA kids. We set up shop on the deck and for four days slept in the open air along with maybe 200 other people. You can't beat the price. It was my first 3 night 4 day cruise for a grand total of 200 rupees ($5). And compared to place I am in now, the ship was first class.

Our numbers keep growing and the ship ride gave us a lot of time to meet many of the people returning to Campbell Bay. We were nine on the ship and are now about 15. We had some good fun on the ship. We did rehiras every night on the deck. We did some yoga all together one morning and I did Sat nam rasayan treatments on a bunch of people one day.

One thing that was pretty cool is we arranged for the return of a lady named Darshan Kaur who left the island because she thought her husband was dead. He was missing for about ten days. She returned to Delhi because she had nowhere lese to go. He surfaced and so we brought them back together.

I was just hanging out with a kid named Gurpreet who climbed a tree when the tsunami came. His mother, brother and sister were all killed. Its just him and his father left. It is really wild to see this stuff in person. Just about everyone around has a story like that.

The place is pretty wrecked though. There is debris all over the place. All the drainage systems along the ocean front have been destroyed. Streets are washed out in many areas. The coastline has been altered by hundreds of feet in many places. We are in stage two of the reconstruction and we are trying to figure out what to do.

Our immediate goal is to clean up the gurdwara by Sunday so that we can start having meeting there. We played some kirtan there today and a bunch of people came by. We have to also find 5 orphans and pair them up with 5 families. We have 5 sponsors in the UK who have agreed to pay for 5 children through college who have lost their parents. In a lot of small ways we will have a big impact. I got to go because this dude is doing ardas and I have to stand up. Stay in touch.

Much Love,

Hargobind Singh

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