Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Widows of Vrindavan

We finally took our turn visiting the ashram in Vrindavan and I was not disappointed. This is one of Maitri's signature projects and many of this year's fundraisers are dedicated to helping to build an ashram for the widows in Radha Kund.  We spent a day touring the facility and listening to around 20 widows share their life histories.  Those cute, frail little women were so welcoming, so kind, and so humble.  They have very few worldly possessions and many of them have faced terrible challenges in their lives.  Yet they were still happy!

The widows spend much of their day in devotion to Lord Krishna and they are each so grateful for the warm, dry place to sleep and to receive a nutritious meal each day.  We even toured the facility that prepares the meal for the widows and I was impressed with the cleanliness and efficiency of the facility.  We also brought soap and detergent with us to distribute to the widows and they hugged me and kissed me in appreciation for such a small gift.  How could you not love them!  The new ashram in Radha Kund will provide another 150 or so widows with the same kind of shelter that the widows in Vrindavan currently enjoy.  It will be such a blessing for them to get out off of the streets so that they will not have to beg to pay for shelter.  No woman should have to do such a thing at that age.  I thought of my own grandmother and how devastated I would be to find her in such conditions at a time of life when she should be surrounded by family and respected for her role and influence in our lives.  I'm glad that we had the opportunity to visit these women, to hear about their challenges, and to see how Maitri has helped them to finally have dignity in their old age.

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