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Region 4 - Coventry and Rugby Sai Centre: Global Service Day 2014

With Baba's grace on Sunday 20th July 2014, Coventry and Rugby Sai Centres had the fortunate opportunity to hold a 'Global Service Day' event for the Elderly and Disabled. This year's event was held at Buddenhall village hall, Warwickshire. Swami had kindly answered our prayers in that this year's event was on a beautiful sunny day.

Global Service Day was an excellent opportunity for volunteers from Coventry & Rugby Sai Centres and those of different faiths and backgrounds to serve over 100 people in their local community in a humble and loving manner. For our guests it was an excellent opportunity for them to enjoy the fun activities, entertainment, delicious food and one another's company.

Baba says very beautifully that we should "Love all Serve all" and that "Service to Man is Service to God".

Preparations for this year's event had naturally began months in advance of this date. On the day volunteers had arrived early to help with set up of tents/gazebos, seating, food preparation and general set up. To sanctify the event and work three Omkars were recited by volunteers.

Our guests were warmly welcomed by volunteers as they arrived in specially arranged minibuses just after noon. With love they were assisted to their programme seats. They were then served biscuits, tea and coffee. Throughout the event volunteers were ever ready and willing to serve guests and ensure that they enjoyed the programme. They were very much made to feel loved. Volunteers worked together as one and all wore a neck scarf which had previously been worn during a Sadhana trip to Prasanthi Nilayam, India.

With everyone seated comfortably this year's Global Service Day programme commenced at 2pm with a welcome greeting by the master of ceremonies.

The first item of the day was two Bharat Natyam dances. These were performed by a pair of primary school girls, Shyaami and Amrita aged 10 and 7. Bharat Natyam is a classical south Indian dance and is performed with Carnatic music. The first dance was an offering to Lord Ganesh whilst the second dance was a padam praising Sarawathi Matha. The girls were beautifully dressed and performed with real confidence. It was a privilege and honour for all in the audience to have experienced such talented performances.

The next item that followed was a local community choir from Coventry called 'Singing City Choir'. The choir sung a number of well-known songs, which the guests and volunteers happily sung together, harmoniously as one. There were group as well as exceptionally talented solo performances. It was a joy for the audience to listen to the high and low notes sung. 'Singing City Choir' were skilfully conducted by Elona. They also performed later in the programme.

There after there were group songs by Coventry and Rugby Sai Centre SSE children, Gurus and youth. Everyone including our guests sang joyfully to "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" and "Singing I Yi Yippee Yippee I".

The final performance before the food break was a singing and music medley by Ian King. So for the music lover this was a real treat. Ian has been part of Global Service Day for many years and his act is very much a cue for the audience, volunteers and everyone to take part in some dancing on stage.

This active session had very much prepared everyone's appetite for lunch. A range of hearty food including sandwiches, cakes, fruit, samosas, papri gathia, and potato poha, had been very kindly prepared for guests and volunteers.

The City of Coventry's very own Lady Godiva entrusted to Pru Poretta, was also present during the lunch break. Her presence and radiant smile delighted guests and volunteers.

The delicious food break was then followed by another brilliant performance by the 'Singing City Choir'. This was followed by a short talk in English and in Guajarati on the story of Lady Godiva. Our special guest Pru Poretta (Lady Godiva) also gave a talk. The voluntary work conducted by Pru in today's times is fitting of the compassion and noble character of medieval Lady Godiva.

The next item was a fun game of Bingo. It was great to see volunteers help our guests spot number patterns on their Bingo sheets. The Bingo callers Mike, Rupert and Niruben did a great job in calling out numbers and the witty Bingo catch phrases.

The penultimate and final items of the day was another singing and music medley by Ian King and a Garba dance. Garba is a traditional North Indian dance from the state of Gujarat. The dance signifies the Hindu faith of moving time and reincarnation. Guests and volunteers joyfully circled around the centre of the stage.

Global Service Day 2014 had come to a close. Before everyone departed a vote of thanks was given. Thanking all the performers and volunteers for their participation and help in this year's fantastic event. We thank our guests in making this year's event such a wonderful experience.

Below is feedback on this year's Global Service Day event from Bond's Court & Hospital, Coventry.

"Residents, who had not been before, were full of praise for your kindness and consideration towards everyone. The food and dancing were greatly enjoyed. Of course, the lovely weather added to the enjoyment. We, as an organization, greatly appreciate the amount of work you put into giving everyone a day to remember. I hope you are all able to have a well-earned rest".

We are truly indebted to Swami for giving us the strength to serve and the opportunity to love selflessly at this year's Global Service Day event.

Baba says: "Every deed performed, do it in My Name. Every person who passes near your path give them the sweetness of your smile. Give freely of the nectar of your cup of happiness, of kindness, of Blissfulness. Give the warmth of your love. Extend your hand as I extend Mine to you".

Jai Sai Ram,
Coventry & Rugby Sai Youth.