I was part of the claretian brothers(CMF) mission community, at KAVASAM, near Villupuram, Tamilnadu for nearly two months. I went there so as to qualitatively utilise my time while waiting for the call from Madagascar.
Fr. Rafael and all community members warmly welcomed and accepted me as part of their mission.
This community is involved in various very creative ministry.
1. Alternative medicine: weekly two-days reflexology treatment and one-day body massage for all different ailments, of which even allopathy is not able to solve. People come from near and far places and go home with hope and joy.
2. Herbal garden and chicken farming
3. Bricks making (creating employment for Ruler community people)
4. Hostel for school boys from poor and socially discriminated background.
5. Actively working for the development of the Irular tribal people through the association “Pazhankudiyinar Padukappu Sangam”
Irular tribal people are one of the minority community and almost ignored and used for selfish reasons by government and society. They are the scapegoats for all unfound/ influential people involved criminal cases. They have no identity and face before society. This “pazhankudiyinar padukkapu sangam” is moving the people to claim their rights and as well representing them before government. These days there is lot of improvement and recognition, but still a long way to move on. They work in the education of the children, formation of women and creating employment for them, construction of residence, advocating and conducting rallies whenever their members are falsely acquitted etc.
I had the chance to know, witness and participate in the sangam meetings and some activities. Using government schemes and partial help from international NGOs, they have built houses, nearly 100 houses had been completed and now 70 more houses are near completion process. Despite of lot of challenges and opposition from some government bodies, now the governmental authorities want to work with this sangam for housing projects of 1000 more Irular community peoples’ families.
Alternative medicine: We follow reflexology and Siddha medicine. Reflexology is giving pressure to the body points at the foot. All our body parts are connected to our foot, and when particular and all areas are stimulated, they work in coordination. The Claretian priests and 5 lay people give foot reflexology treatment. I too learned and practiced this approach of healing. I had opportunity to fully participate in collection, cleaning and preparation of herbal medicines. Some medicine needs some days of process while others needs many hours standing and stirring in big fire.
Along with the foot reflexology, siddha medicines are recommended. Siddha is very ancient and mother of medicines. It affirms that food is medicine, thus encourages good natural food habits and recognising and using the herbs for all ailments and recommending to keep our immunity at best. The medicines is prepared there and the process is long and needs lot of wisdom, love, hard work and endurance.
We also practice “Varamam” (a branch of siddha). It was developed and used by Siddhars as a healing science, which traces back to more than 4000 years old written(Thirumurai) wisdom and tradition. It involves a special kind of therapy based on vital points called varmam points (flow of energy) present in the body. This was/is not made available for everyone to learn and practice, but only to few. This is a special gift from God and should not be commercialised.
I am initiated in this learning and I wonder and appreciate of this ancient wisdom, which the science speaks/ invented in very recent years.
The community accepted me and helped me feel as part of their family and as sister. I felt free with all my initiatives and felt very much at home with all lay collaborators, community members and mission. The community and me experienced this possibility as opportunity and a suggestion to bring forward that in future we could work as partners in mission in giving wholeness to the mission.
It is a good experience which helped me to recognise certain qualities and vulnerabilities as well. It has created a memorable page in my life.
Thanks for who have supported me.