The sky was partially overcast when I left my house early in the morning of 29th June, 2012. I had not known that this day in my life would become an unforgettable one.
We were scheduled to visit Darul Sakoon with other members of the Orange Tree team along with the mothers of the children who go to the Orange Tree montessori. These mothers and their kids were the ones with whom we had spent Blue Day on the beach of Arabian Sea sometime back.
The objective of this visit was to develop an understanding that there is no end to sufferings and misery that are beyond the realm of poverty. It was arranged as part of the motivational training of the mothers of the Orange Tree students for their emotional forbearance for which is worked upon on consecutive Fridays.
On reaching, we were briefed by Ms Mina that on entering we have to keep our cool and if the occupants try to shake hands or hug us, we should let them and should not be frightened.
We then entered a sprawling courtyard and what we saw there made me, in my imagination, bow to Allah Almighty for giving me so much. There I could see people who were physically and mentally challenged. Some were on wheel chairs, some walking, some on the beds inside and upstairs, some could not even move, some could talk and some could not. This sight was such that cannot be described in words.
I gathered my courage and with my team got onto the job of distribution. We presented gifts to all, mixed up with them and started talking about different matters of their interest with them.
The objective was to make them feel loved. The mothers of the Orange Tree students were fully involved with us. My gut feeling was that these mothers must be also be extending their gratitude to God Almighty for being blessed with health.
It was a very painful sight. Strange are the ways of nature. These physically and mentally challenged people, given the choice, I am sure, would ask for recovery from their disability and none of them would pray for material or worldly gains.
The compound effect, of this visit, on the mothers who went with us was immense which fulfilled the purpose of taking them along. In hindsight, I saw a glow of hope radiating on their faces.
The psychological impact was visible proving that the purpose of the visit had been served. One could read from their body language that the sight of people at Darul Sakoon had made them see life in a whole new perspective, one where they feel thankful and one where they have renewed sense of hope in their journey of life.
This stay of ours lasted about an hour or so but to us it seemed like a lifetime and there after we made our way back.
-Gaity Khan (Volunteer at Orange Tree)
Here is what the mothers at Orange Tree had to say about the visit:
I never thought I’d go to Darul Sukoon. Going there made me feel like I entered a whole new world. However, going there made me first thank Allah especially when I saw a kid in a wheelchair who held my hand and would not let go. I felt like hugging him right there.
Truly Allah has blessed us with everything but all we do is complain. Now I know and realize this more than ever before.
When I went to Darul Sukoon, seeing the people there made me really sad that this is their life. We saw all types of people there those who were physically or mentally challenged, both rich and poor and even those who were waiting for their family to show up so much so that they were trying to find them in every person who walked in there. Some of them were even tied to chairs. Seeing them made me really upset and want to thank my Lord that He gave us so much.
However it made me appreciate the efforts Minah and people like her are putting there. I salute them for all that they are doing.
Even so, going there left me quite upset. I don’t believe that the people there are looked after well. It is sad if they are shouted at, thrown at the beds and not properly taken care of. One poor woman fell off her wheel chair but no one went to her help, when we n Minah saw it we ran to help her sit back on the wheel chair. Watching all of this gave me more patience and made me thank God even more.
At times I wish that I had so much so I could help these people. Allah chooses His special people for work like these, people like Minah. Looking at them made me realize that God has given us wealth in the form of health. It makes me thank Him that I am not dependent on anyone. Certainly, money is not everything it is something that just comes and goes but complete and proper health is what has made us rich. We can do anything and everything we like, we have goals in life that we can strive to achieve.
What I felt for them that day I probably can’t even describe in words. Nothing I write can define what I felt.
Consequently, one thing is true, after visiting Darul Sukoon the patience and content feeling that I have now is way more than I ever had before.
We should be thankful to Allah who gave us every thing, provided us with mercy and His grace. The most important thing that I felt was that the madam of that school, her attitude is very bad with the kids. They need a lot of love and deserve happiness, not the attitude like that their teachers gives.
This was my experience and what I felt when I went there!