[Pakistan] June 2, 2023, Food Distribution and Inspection of Hand Pump Support Project
Hello. Today, we distributed food in the village of Muhammad Hashim Soomro, Jhuddo, Pakistan. Since last October, JTS has been collaborating with the local Pakistani partner organization called FRDP (Fast Rural Development Program) and has completed 6 rounds of food distribution. Today is the day for the 7th round of food distribution.
At 5:00 AM, Venerable Pomnyun Sumin departed Hyderabad and headed to the Jhuddo region. Upon arriving at the distribution location around 7:30 AM, many people were already waiting.
As soon as Pomnyun Sunim arrived, he greeted the people and inspected the distribution route with Jina Park, President of JTS.
Today, food was scheduled to be distributed to 1,000 households. Pomnyun Sunim worked to complete the distribution before the weather became too hot, ensuring that the waiting individuals wouldn’t become exhausted. Aid recipients were required to receive a confirmation stamp at the entrance for eligibility verification. Subsequently, they would form a line to receive food packages and oil.
At 8:00 AM, after the entire route was checked and staff were positioned at each location, people began to enter. Pomnyun Sunim first brought food packages and placed them on people’s shoulders.
People started pouring in like a flood. As the flow of people became disorganized, Pomnyun Sunim stopped carrying food packages and immediately started redirecting people to ensure the safety of everyone as they exited.
The 25kg food package was a bit heavy to carry alone, especially for women. As the number of women increased and congestion started to occur, volunteers quickly assisted elderly or weak women to carry the packages to keep the route clear and flowing smoothly. The distribution site was managed safely and orderly.
While the food distribution was in full swing, there was another moment of congestion. Pomnyun Sunim followed the flow to find the blockage.
There was a shortage of staff at the oil distribution point, causing delays in the distribution process. As people gathered to receive oil, a bottleneck formed where those at the back couldn’t move forward. In response, Pomnyun Sunim began to assist by packaging and distributing the oil to the people to help alleviate the situation.
As the sun climbed higher in the sky, the temperature rose. Pomnyun Sunim’s robe began to cling to his body due to sweat, and his face was soaked in continuous perspiration, making it challenging to keep his eyes open. An on-site activist, who had been observing with concern, approached him.
“Sunim, please take a little break.”
Pomnyun Sunim accepted the juice offered by the local activist and took a moment to wipe off the sweat.
Sunim resumed packaging and distributing oil to the people.
Food distribution was completed in about one hour and 20 minutes, about 40 minutes ahead of schedule. The people receiving the food distribution were grateful, and the local volunteers felt a sense of pride as well.
Once the distribution was wrapped up, Pomnyun Sunim took a commemorative photo with the volunteers and then proceeded to inspect the project that provided hand pumps for water supply in the area.
There was a large canal surrounding the village.
Cows bathed in the water, flocks of sheep were wading through the water, some people were doing laundry, and young children were playing and splashing in the water.
Pomnyun Sunim crossed the canal and entered the village. Each village had a hand pump installed with the JTS/FRDP collaboration mark displayed on it.
He visited each village where hand pumps were installed, meticulously inspecting the quality of water, ensuring that pumping didn’t require excessive effort, and confirming that the height of the hand pumps was suitable for the villagers’ use.
“Do you all like having the hand pumps now?”
“Thank you so much. It’s really great.”
“The water is fresh and tastes good.”
“How did you manage water before having the hand pumps?”
“We used to fetch water from the canal in front of the village.”
“And how did you get drinking water?”
“We drank that water. We didn’t have any other option.”
“It must have been like that.”
The village residents who now had access to the hand pumps looked very happy.
Children freely drank water from the hand pumps, and people cheered and applauded.
“Water is truly precious. You can see how valuable water is through the bright expressions and cheerful voices of the people. It would be great if we could support as many hand pumps as possible.”
Pomnyun Sunim approached a young child who was playing around the hand pump in the village and asked,
“Do you like the hand pump?”
“The hand pump is nice, but why aren’t you washing up? (laughter) If you don’t wash up, we might block the use of the hand pump.” (laughter)
Everyone burst into laughter and smiles.
Pomnyun Sunim turned to the village adults and said,
“Please make sure the children wash properly. They might get skin infections. Being poor has nothing to do with not washing.” (laughter)
After inspecting seven villages, it was time for the Friday Dharma Talk. It would take two hours to return to Hyderabad. Although Pomnyun Sunim wanted to visit a few more villages, he stopped the village tours and proceeded to Hyderabad.
After the talk, Pomnyun Sunim engaged in conversations with the FRDP activists. About 25 people were present, and the vice president of FRDP delivered the opening remarks.
Following that, the attendees watched a video showcasing the food support projects they had collaborated on. Afterwards, they asked Sunim to share stories.
“Nice to meet all of you. Spending time with you yesterday and today has been enjoyable. Working together physically today has brought us closer. By working together, we can understand how much effort people on the ground put into creating these things. Today, I worked for an hour, but I know that there has been a lot of time and effort from all of you to investigate, purchase goods, package, and prepare this.
JTS is an organization that gathers donations from individuals to support its endeavors. Consequently, our financial management is both stringent and transparent. This is why, while interacting with JTS, you might have noticed President Jina Park’s strict approach. However, this isn’t merely her individual judgment; it signifies the challenging nature of collaborating and working with us. It’s safe to say that you must be exceptional individuals to engage with us in this manner. (laughter)
“JTS doesn’t receive support from the government or large corporations. Therefore, we support what we consider necessary without any interference from anyone.
During my visit to Pakistan, I was reminded once again of the cooperative relations between JTS and FRDP. If you strategize and choose projects that address local needs, JTS will evaluate and provide support for those essential projects. Moving forward, I hope that organizations can uphold a sense of camaraderie, respect one another’s viewpoints, and sustain their collaborative efforts.”
Following that, Pomnyun Sunim received a few questions from FRDP staff and concluded the conversation. After completing two full days in Pakistan, he headed to the Karachi Airport to fly to Bangkok. After a 2-hour drive, he completed the departure procedures and boarded an 11:30 AM flight to Bangkok. Pomnyun Sunim slept on the plane once again today.
※Source: A Day in the Life of Sunim” June 2, 2023 – Food Distribution, Inspection of Hand Pump Support Project, Friday Dharma Talk, and FRDP Meeting in Pakistan”