Looking Out for One Another



April, Thursday, 30, 2020

Gudipadi Cheruvu, Andhra Pradesh

Rice and vegetables were distributed last Sunday to 100 families of Jentapenda village, which is 15 km away from Amrita SeRVe village Gudipadi Cheruvu in Andhra Pradesh. The idea of organising food provisions arised to Mallu Swamy, who has been working for years with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA). The word came to his ears that there is an urgent need for food in another community nearby, belonging to the same Chenchu tribe as the residents of Gudipadi Cheruvu.

Last week a meeting by village development committee and farmers’ group members was held. “I called everyone, and people came. It is difficult to reach this village since we don’t have transport,” says Mallu Swamy. Autorikshaws from the village were transporting all the collected food items: tomato and cucumber from village farms, eggplant and onion from the market, and rice from ration shop. The school headmaster donated money for purchasing the items.

All the food was packed in bags containing 5 kg of rice and four types of vegetables each. The day was very hot as the month of April is especially in this region of India. After distribution and short conversations with the people, everyone returned to the village.

The school headmaster said: “Jentapenda is a corner village in our region. I thank everyone for coming. Here, people don’t have even one meal a day since they depend on daily labour. Everyone has a ration card and they should receive proper rations,“ he concluded. Mallu Swamy expressed his gratitude after the food reached the families: “I feel happy that we could do this.”

On the same day as food distribution, a special puja (ritual) was performed in the morning. At the temple, Panchamrita Abhisekam was offered to Satteamma Grama Devata, deity of the village.

Every day, the villagers of Gudipadi Cheruvu are checking up on everyone: they are listening to bhajans on a loud speaker which Amrita SeRVe village coordinator Mallikarjun is playing after sunset. Just before, Mallikarjun takes a little walk around the village when people are gathering in front of their homes and asks how they are doing. During lockdown, they share news announcements and latest information on Coronavirus. The village is closed from both ends so that nobody can enter. Because the area is exposed to drought, the water taps are regularly checked to prevent loosing valuable drinking water and to maintain cleanliness.  

Kotireddy from Gangula Kunata village donated musambi fruits from his farm to Gudipadi Cheruvu villagers. Many small-scale farmers in remote villages find it very difficult to sell their products during lockdown. In the photo, Mallu Swamy distributing the fruits.
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