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Now, this is not in line with our usual non-sectarian music mission, but there is a small place in India that caters to orphans. Through a colleague, I received a request for assistance for St. Joseph's after the tsunami whacked the area last December. As well known, much of the aid and support that came to the afflicted areas was spread via various good--but big--networks;  it seemed that it would be more potent to contribute in a directed way. So, along came a request for direct help to St. Joseph's Mission in Vellamadam (which, if you do a quick internet search, you find bupkis, indicating how out-of-the-way it is). There are a lot of sad corners on this planet, but this one, for some reason, struck most poignantly.

Upon receiving a recent newsletter from the St Joseph's center, my good-hearted business manager challenged me to find more ways to help, so this is a meager effort in that direction. I offer the following collection point:

St. Joseph's Mission Fund

8705 Falkstone Lane

Alexandria, VA  22309-4004


Airmail from Vellamadam, here are excerpts from the June Newsletter:

"May I wish to be in touch with you again in this summer. Our temperature is 43 degrees Celsius. We had some rain to soften the heat. They say this year the monsoons may not come in June as it had rained widely during summer. The farmers are happy and we also started to cultivate paddy soon after the harvest depending on the water release from the tanks. If we do not have good harvest the money to buy rice will be much reduced. We hope to be favoured with rain till the harvest in August. Now we are busy manuring the fields & ploughing to get ready for planting the paddy.

Many of the children went to visit relatives during summer vacation and they will start coming back by 1st of June when schools reopen. While they are away we have to take care of the maintenance of the building, repairing and white washing. Also the yard needs concrete & the path to the toilets had to be paved. As the children sit outside on the yard for their studies it has to be neat & clean. Now it is very dusty and dirty and if it rains it all becomes muddy. Once we put concrete it will have a better look and the children can squat & eat & study in the yard. Now the work is going on.

Still there is plenty of poverty & misery all over. Many poor people come to us as usual for help when they starve or hospital expense. We have helped many people for marriages & in times of major sickness. Not minding our conveniences, we give out to the poor unceasingly. Doctors & my friend priest seeing the cot in which I sleep the hind legs supported by pair of bricks for getting elevation when I sleep, advised me for the last several years to buy a hospital cot that can be adjusted instead of bricks. But so far I could not get the money to buy a cot which will cost 500 dollars.

There is much violence all over the country and they roam about at night and everyday we hear of many incidents of thefts after killing the house owners. Our gate watchman's son in law 29 years old boy was cruelly stabbed to death last week. He has 3 small little kids. The daughter of our previous worker burnt herself due to domestic quarrel. Everyone comes to us for help."

Father Joseph

St Joseph's Centre

Vellamadam 629 305


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