Seva, is the act of sacrificing ones needs, time and comfort for the sake of others. “Hindu Student Association officers volunteering to aid victims of this natural disaster- a project away from their hometowns, for strangers that just were in need, truly embodied the spirit of selfless service that is integral to the mission of our young adult organization.” (Varun Mehta, National President) The Hindu Students Association branch of Arkansas did just that on the weekend of June 17th, 2011. A group of ten dedicated Hindus went up to Joplin Missouri for the weekend to lend a helping hand to those who had been impacted by the tornado. We stayed with a church called the Abundant Life Christian Center, who were kind enough to give us lodging as well as vegetarian meals each day. We also worked directly with United Way, the Red Cross, and Service International.
Upon arriving at the scene the volunteers were met with the eyesore that was the destruction and the devastation that that tornado had wrecked in peoples lives. There was littered debris everywhere and the intensity of the loss was immense. The group was then set to work in a farmer’s home which had been wrecked, “There were about forty people cleaning up his house and multiple sheds that had collapsed. It takes a lot of stamina to go out there in the hot sun wearing full length jeans and pulling apart the wood walls, carrying them to another pile, sorting sheet metal from metal. In the end of the day, it really feels good to know that you directly made a difference a person’s life.” (Aswini Rajan, University of Arkansas President).
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how much of an impact you were able to make but the fact that you went out of your way to strive to make that impact that counts the most. “Commitment showed by the Hindu Student Association members that organized and attended the event reflected the Hindu Student Association’s presence in the American fabric beyond religious boundaries.” (Ramya Ravi National Chief Financial Officer). The hard work and dedication that went into making this project not only a success but also something to remember and something that the Hindu Students Association and many others can be proud of is something that we as a group will continue to do because Seva does not ever end with just one good deed.