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Love and Light

Region 2 - Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow West: An Enviro Care Project

Envirocare offers us an opportunity to be more aware and to learn from the natural world. We learn to notice and to appreciate and we learn how to "read" the natural world and to integrate the lessons learned into our lives in a practical way.

As part of the Selfless Service Seva activities, on June 13th, members of the Centre undertook an Enviro Care project at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. The hospital is based in Stanmore and treats patients from across the UK with complex and rare conditions.

The hospital was founded in 1905 with the amalgamation of three Orthopaedic hospitals into one. During the First World War the hospital became and emergency hospital for the military and during the Second World War many ‘Nissen’ huts were erected to house civilian orthopaedic cases and casualties.

As the hospital has been around for over a century it is not in the greatest of conditions. The open spaces surrounding the buildings needed urgent care. The aim of the project was to tidy up the areas surrounding the wards enabling the able patients to spend time outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.

The above picture shows the overgrowth outside one of the patient wards almost covering the view from the inside of the ward. The gardens have been neglected and there was overgrowth of plants and weeds everywhere.

Inspite of the dull weather and some light rain, this did not deter the enthusiasm of any of the volunteers. With just some basic tools to work with the love and devotion of the volunteers made the task lighter. In the background bhajans were being heard as a volunteer had tuned into Radio Sai. This made the seva truly devotional.

The task seemed quite big at first but as Swami has always said that when we take one step towards him he will take a thousand steps towards us.

With the amount of work involved the volunteers really got involved with the task and each one determined to.

Due to Health and Safety reasons volunteers under the age of 14 were not allowed to participate in the seva. However we were truly blessed to have the support of one of the youngest members of our youth to the most senior member of our centre joining us in the seva.

The gardens needed a lot of weeding and the plants needed to be pruned. Any overgrowth had to also be removed to make way for seed to be planted.

It reminded us of Swami’s teaching:
To reform: First weed out the evil thoughts and bad habits. Second cultivate good habits. – Sathya Sai Baba

So much love and attention was poured in the task that they beauty of the gardens were beginning to show signs. Extra care was being taken to ensure that the existing flower beds were all kept intact and room made for new ones to flourish.

It was not just about tidying up the gardens but also the path between the wards which was covered with thick moss. This needed to be cleared to allow patients to safely walkabout and spend time outside the ward and consume some freshness of the cool air of the summer season.

With Swami’s grace the task was completed in good time and it was such a joy just to stand back and admire the difference that the work had made and the pleasure that it will give to the hospital staff and patients.

The hospital was gracious to acknowledge the difference the task had made to the appearance of the area between the wards. The staff working in the wards also appreciated the work and how this will greatly benefit the patients.

A great tribute to the volunteers who supported the project and dedicated their time in making such a big difference to a small part of the hospital.

We thank Swami in providing us with this opportunity to serve the community and particularly the hospital with all the good work that it undertakes.

In service to our Lord

Chhaya Thaker – Service Coordinator
Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Harrow West
SSIO UK, Region 2