Pappu is in his early forties and lives in the town of Jalandhar, Punjab. He works as a daily wage laborer. In the past he has worked with CBM partner Ruby Nelson Memorial hospital during Eye-Camps. He lives in a block in the Gurunanak Pura area. Pappu’s block has twelve tiny rooms for around 36 laborers mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These 34 men and 2 women are the sole earners in their respective families. Pappu’s family stays in his hometown, a small village in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Unlike the privileged class of the country, Pappu and his fellow laborer friends were caught off-guard and unaware when the Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India. They suddenly found themselves stranded without work, resources, food and supplies. At this time the Ruby Nelson Memorial hospital, with the support of CBM, stepped up and aided all the stranded laborers in Pappu’s block. They were all provided ration supplies which included Rice, Atta, Dal, Cooking Oil, Sugar, Soap and other essential items.
The experience has been quite traumatic for laborers all across India. Pappu narrates how one of his friends and roommate named Rampal left for his home town in Uttar Pradesh for his daughter’s wedding just days before the lockdown. Due to this crisis the wedding did not happen resulting in a huge monetary loss for Rampal and his family. Now Rampal is left with no means or supplies. As Pappu narrates this story one cannot help but picture the anguish that such a large section of our society is going through right now. Pappu quickly adds as if reading our thoughts, ”but.. you see we are all together in this. Yes, being poor it has affected us very badly but I sincerely wish good health for the rich and poor alike. I hope we emerge from this and sustain with a more robust economy”.
It is heartening to see how people like Pappu are a source of hope and positivity in these testing times. People like Pappu are indeed the personification of faith and courage.