for example hundreds of thousands of migrant workers stranded on the streets. They were walking on the highways to get home. Now after a long time some trains and buses are running again. There are countless migrant workers, many come from the north to the south because they are more likely to find work there and they are also paid a little more than in their home country. They were trapped by the lockdown: No work, no money, no food, no roof over their heads and thousands of kilometres away from home - so people walked home, often with small children, whole families with grandparents... Heartbreaking pictures and news reached us whichare hard to bear: A man with a homemade car pulling his pregnant wife and two-year-old child, young men carrying their parents like little children, a mother who rode her scooter 1200 km to pick up her son who is studying medicine, bruised soles of feet, angry people who destroy passing cars, accidents over accidents with many deaths, because people cling to trains or to a truck ... I am afraid that all migrant workers who have made their way home like this have their own story.
But not only the migrant workers, so many others have lost their jobs, which they need to feed their families. What are they supposed to live on now? The poor are affecedthe worst, who cannot fall back on savings - there is simply nothing!
The corona pandemic hit many pupils and students in the middle of the exam period. For many of them it is not clear how things will continue. Nobody knows how the government will decide. It has also affected us. Sr. Aleena is waiting for her exams, she has to write her finals. Supriya, a candidate, still has to write an exam for +2. Sona Maria will get her diploma, the last two exams will be replaced by the yearly result. Sr. Thomai has to attend online classes and write exams daily, Sr. Selvi is stuck in Goa alone.
Our school in Puduvadavalli is closed. The new school year would normally have already started. Many schools have started to give "online classes". But for our children this is very difficult. Most of the parents cannot help the children, the necessary equipment is lacking. The teachers are giving advice and are looking for new ways.
We all stay where we are and are not allowed to leave the house, i.e. no holidays, no visits, no admission to the postulate and novitiate, no "come and see"... everything stands still.
In Kotagiri and in Periyanaikanpalayam we have to be especially careful because of the old people. The number of cases is rising. India now ranks third in the world. The lockdown rules are stricter again, especially for us in the old people's home.
We are not allowed to leave Nilgiris and our movements are very restricted. Large projects are no longer possible. We share what we have with our neighbours, employees and their neighbours. We give larger donations to the local district government. There are programs running, e.g. distribution of food, better equipment of the hospital, so that not all patients have to be brought to Coimbatore (a three hour drive) ... how we would like to go out and help, but we are bound! We take care of our residents as best we can and make sure that they do not feel lonely.
For us in Kotagiri, worship is only available on TV, but at least we have that. Periyanaikanpalayam and Puduvalli have service, thank God.
The pandemic does not only have negative aspects. We have more time to reflect and pray, look beyond our own horizon, appreciate health and God’s free gifts more. The eyes become clearer and the hearts wider, we become more grateful. As painful as the pandemic is, it can also be a great lesson for us.
India is not only plagued by the pandemic. In northern and central India, swarms of locusts are destroying everything that is green. These are also awful images. People are trying in vain to drive the swarms away. In many areas, the harvest will fail this year.
A very severe cyclone has destroyed the area around Calcutta, many people (again the poorest) have lost everything.
Street children and old people suffer especially, they need urgent attention and help.
There is growing undrest on the border between China and India and there have already been deaths on both sides! We long for a political solution!
In the las few days, we have been shocked by news of unprecedented police violence. A father with his son, both Christians, were brutally tortured to death - just because they kept their shop open 15 minutes longer than allowed. No wonder that people are afraid of the police.
What can I say - my poor afflicted India
May God bless it and look upon us all with merciful eyes.
Sr. M. Theresa Gunselmann
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