Diary entry of a UK Volunteer in Chile

A few weeks ago UNITED SIKHS volunteers left London Heathrow Airport to help with humanitarian relief efforts in Chile. We have just received email below from volunteer Baljinder Kaur whose diary experience is blogged below.  Just days before leaving Baljinder was helping give hot meals (Langaar) at Heathrow airport when flights in UK and Europe were grounded by the Icelandic ash cloud.

It is with your support these humanitarian efforts can continue, please keep look out in coming days for more information and photos of work being carried out in Chile.

Hi all,

I`ve managed to find a hut/home which has internet access – and asked if I can use it in with the very few Spanish words we`ve learnt here from a young girl who teaches me Spanish.

We are very busy now with langaar and the distribution of the container- The container arrived on Sunday and we were really surprised with what Canadian UNITED SIKHS had packed! They packed almost everything we needed to start a langaar from scratch, for example they packed us matches, candles, UNITED SIKHS volunteer t-shirts. The amazing part of this is that these boxes in particular fell out of the container as soon as we opened the doors – otherwise there is no way we would have found them until much later.

The local ladies came yesterday to help peel the vegetables and prepare langaar and they will be coming again today – which is really good as we can cook more and they now also feel part of a community.

The distribution of food and clothes is going well – two of the volunteers take the food (cereal boxes, baby milk, rice, etc…) and drive to remote areas in a car. There is a lot to do here so we normally wake early in the morning and go to sleep very late at night.

The locals really enjoy us being here and are leaning alot about Sikhs. There is one local called Maximo who comes into the community centre where we have set up the langaar (and where we sleep) very drunk – he`s told us that something very bad happened to him and that’s why he now drinks – but he said since the earthquake-tsunami we (Sikhs) are now here so that’s something very good that has happened. However when he does come we try and feed him as much as possible and as each day goes by I actually think he comes less and less drunk – so perhaps us being here will change his life around as well.

Anyway I need to get back to the community centre – i have left both Gurpreets washing massive pots for tonight’s langaar.

I will most likely email next when get back to the UK.

Yours faithfully
Baljinder Kaur

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