慈濟傳播人文志業基金會
Words From Master Cheng Yen--Transforming Lives, Creating Blessings

In the past, whenever I thought of Africa, my heart would ache. So many people there endured suffering for one reason or another, but they could not get the help they badly needed. But now, with many living bodhisattvas going out among the needy there, I have faith that change will come. I believe that these living bodhisattvas will bring blessings to the needy, just like a tree with dense foliage provides cool shade to whoever needs it.

In March this year, Cyclone Idai devastated three countries in south-eastern Africa. Many NGOs from the international community pitched in to help. Tzu Chi volunteers did the same, swinging into action and traveling to the disaster areas to bring care and aid to survivors. They distributed food and daily necessities to help survivors get through this difficult time in their lives; they also distributed building materials and tools so that those who had lost their homes in the disaster could more quickly rebuild and get back on their feet.

Soon after Tzu Chi started its relief work in the disaster areas, a group of young people from Taiwan flew there to help. Tzu Chi volunteers from other countries flew in to help as well. Together with local volunteers, they planned and provided emergency aid to cyclone victims. After the first phase of relief work ended, Tzu Chi followed up with medical assistance. A team of medical professionals from Tzu Chi hospitals in Taiwan and members of the Tzu Chi International Medical Association traveled over 10,000 kilometers [6,215 miles] and transferred planes several times to arrive in the disaster areas in Mozambique and provide free clinics for survivors.

The doctors saw with their own eyes how hard life was for many local people. Some were seriously ill, and yet they had never seen a doctor. Some had to travel by car for two hours to see a doctor, but cars were a luxury very few local people could afford. For those who didn’t have a car, think how long they would have to walk to cover the distance a car could travel in two hours! That distance was a challenge even to healthy people, not to mention the ill and weak. Born into such an environment, the locals could not do much to help themselves. Fortunately, Tzu Chi volunteers went to them, wiped away their tears, and brought them warmth and sincere love.

This just goes to show how important it is to inspire and cultivate real-life bodhisattvas everywhere. When people are in need but there is no one to help, kind-hearted people from far away can come to them to relieve their suffering. At the same time, the people from afar should do what they can to inspire those they meet to give to their own people. That’s how many more people can be helped.

Such is the case in Africa. Tzu Chi volunteers who are originally from Taiwan have been sharing with locals how to create blessings by doing good. Thanks to their efforts, we have seen an outpouring of local volunteers there, including in Mozambique. Local volunteers there have been a great help as we have carried out our work for victims of Cyclone Idai.

These volunteers live in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It’s more than 1,000 kilometers [620 miles] from Beira, one of the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Idai. In order to inspire more people in the disaster area to give for the good of others, nearly 20 volunteers have decided to move to Beira. Some said they would take a sewing machine and teach locals how to sew; others said they would cook for survivors; one said she would share with victims how small amounts of money, when pooled together, can make a big difference, thus encouraging people to give what they could; yet another said she would bring spades and hoes and teach people how to grow vegetables. Everyone vowed to do their part and try their best to inspire more people in Beira to reach out and serve others.

How do we make a difference in the lives of people who suffer? All that we need to do is to put our compassion into action and join forces with others. This allows our trickles of love to grow into a mighty force. When every one of us can act out of love, we will be like a bubbling, surging spring bringing nourishment to places suffering from drought. Let each of us harbor a heart of sincere piety and do our best to create blessings for the world. Only then will the power of love prevail and reach every living being.

Dr. Ye Tian-hao (葉添浩) sees a little patient at a free clinic that Tzu Chi held in May 2019 for victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.

 

July 2019