Aid workers continue to be on alert in Pakistan amid reports of deadly Taliban attacks against foreigners helping with flood relief efforts in the country. Kumar Periasamy serves as the director for International Operations and Programs at Operation Blessing International. The following is the Singapore native's firsthand account of the situation in the Taliban-oppressed region.
I was tossing back and forth thinking of the children I met in the camp who were in dire need of medicines, a bath, and clean clothes. There were no toilets or bathing facility in the camp. When it got dark, there was nothing much to do; there was no electricity.
They slept out in the open, either on a cot or just on a piece of cloth. Surrounding them were donkeys and other families. There was no privacy. The beautiful clear sky and stars were all they could admire. I wonder what goes through a child's mind starring at millions of stars. If it rained, they get wet and perhaps go to sleep with no change of cloths. But none of these kids knew that the God who created the millions of stars created them as well.
There were many power outages during the night, but my restless mind was thinking of what could be done for these children. I was sweating and not able to sleep. When I got up, I stepped on a pool of water. There had been a leak in the air conditioning system, and it was messy. What a great way to start the day!
When I arrived at the camp, the children greeted me. Their hair was a mess. They were sweaty. Their clothes were dirty and flies all over their faces. Many had severe rashes. In my mind, I was thinking how I could bring about a smile on their faces. Probably by this time my host was probably wondering, why is this guy touching all these kids?
I began to ask these children questions and, to my surprise, none of these kids knew their ages. They had never been to school. Sometimes they had to work along with their parents. If they don't know their ages, I am sure they never celebrated their birthdays and they never received gifts. They had never thought of their future, and most probably they were married off young. Their future is bleak, but I was very sure that God brought me here so that Operation Blessing can be a blessing to these children.
I laid my hands on every kid and said a word of blessing. Each time I would touch a child there came out of them a smile -- the most beautiful smile that reflected the love of God in these children. I was showing them the pictures I took of them. They were so excited and joyful. They only have one good meal day of rice and lentils. There was literally nothing for the kids to do.
I arranged for two pediatricians to visit the camp tomorrow. There will be a medical clinic for these kids, and they will be given proper medicines. Later today, we are arranging for all the children to take a bath in the river. I am purchasing soap, towel and shampoo. After which I am going to demonstrate the Life Saver Jerrycan that will give them clean safe drinking water.
The first day you saw pictures of children whose faces reflected desperation, but today the same children expressed joy. This is because Operation Blessing is there to be a blessing to them.