Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jenifer - on way to "Inserted Community"

Last Wednesday, in the morning at about 9.00 am I was traveling from Bolpur to Kolkata. Suddenly I got a call on my cellphone from a Kolkata number. When I picked it, I just couldn't believe my ears. It was my niece Jenifer. She was in Philippines for the last two and a half years, and had just returned. Just before she left for Philippines she had tried to meet me several times, and was able just once, as I was busy with the post-cyclone Aila response coordination at that time. She had gone to Philippines to become a nun! And she is one today. I spoke to her for a while and she said that she is leaving Kolkata at 12.00 noon to leave for Tamilnadu and then to Philippines as she plans to spend the early years of her service in an "inserted" community in Philippines. I told her to wait till 12 noon, and I promised to meet her at 11.30. Although I had few other small appointments, I postponed them, and I went to meet her at Anjali Bhavan in Ripon Street, Kolkata, and reached sharply at 11.30, with my driver doing his best part to make it happen.

She hugged me and held on to me for a while, and then we began to talk for some time. She was served an early lunch at 11.45 so that she can leave on time to catch the train. Jenifer had some personal problems and I had supported her early in life so that she grows into a mature woman. And she seems to be a mature one today. I asked her why she is planning to be serve in Philippines for some more time, in stead of returning to India. She said she wanted to be in an "inserted" community and serve the poor. What is this "inserted community" all about? She explained, it is a small little community of religious living with the people like people in remote utterly poverty stricken locations with exactly the same facility like that is available to the poorest family in the area! Hei, someone called it serving the poor? But here it is...."living the poverty"! As we kept talking I told her about the mosquito menace in Kolkata and other places in India. And asked her if there are plenty of mosquitoes in Philippines too. "Of course", she replied, "Only the difference is, we do not use mosquito nets!" She continued, "In inserted communities because we live like the poor and with the poor, because the poor do not have mosquito nets, we too do not use one! I had an opportunity to live in a community for two months. And that is what we did. And when I return, that is what I will do!". 

My developmental mind took over me. "Isn't it right that we educate people about using mosquito nets? We should teach them what is good, and help them achieve that.", I said. She in her simpler tone replied, "Yes uncle. All the families in that place are able to afford a mosquito net, then we will have one too!"

In the context of motor cycle riding and jazzy car winding religious in India, can someone show me if there are a few "inserted" community in this sense of the term?

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