Bay Area Seva
Manicure Seva for Bhagawan’s Daughters
A day in the life of a homeless person is not easy. For a woman, the struggles are only exponential. It could be with security on the street or taking care of herself, there are many things a woman faces that only other women can understand. That is why a group of sisters in the Bay Area came together to do a special Seva for the women in an encampment area where the volunteers have been serving breakfast every day.
Bhagawan has often said that He wants everyone to ‘Be Happy’. The sisters wanted to do something that would inspire the homeless ladies to ‘Be Happy’, irrespective of the situation they are in and the challenges they have to face day in and day out. They wanted the women on the streets to know that there are people out there who care for them and they can reach out to.
When brainstorming about Seva projects, the lovely idea of doing manicure for the ladies on the streets came up. One week prior to the set date of manicure, the volunteers who go for breakfast Seva announced the upcoming manicure Seva. The interest built up and many women came forward to have their nails done!
On Sunday, July 7, the Sai Sisters set out on this mission. A mission to connect with the homeless women and to make them feel good about themselves! The sisters carried with them many colors of nail polish, nail polish remover, cotton, alcohol swabs, lotion, nail stickers, nail cutters, filers, small stools to sit on, hot water and towels!
While the Sisters arrived at the Oakland camp and parked their cars and looked for a spot to sit down and start the Seva, a lady kept observing them from one of the nearby tents. When asked if she wanted to get her nails done, she said she did not want to and brushed the volunteers off.
The sisters found a good spot on the pavement and opened up their manicure shop! Meanwhile, other sisters went about calling out at the tents on the streets, hoping to have some customers for the shop.
Soon, one by one, they started to come and the sisters were thrilled to welcome the very excited customers! They saw that the ladies had some nail polish, but their nails were not maintained. One lady had a gel polish that was very hard to remove. The sisters started by wiping their hands with hot water and cleaning it with a towel. Then the nail polish remover was applied to remove any existing nail polish. The gel that one of the ladies had, as mentioned, was quite hard to remove and it required dipping her fingers in a quarter cup of nail polish remover for a while and then forcing the gel out of her nails carefully so it would not hurt her. It took some time, but was worth every bit of effort! Some of them needed their nails cut and filed neatly. The sisters used the alcohol swabs to clean after cutting the nails, to take the dirt out and make them feel clean as well! Once the polish was removed and nail was cut and filed, the ladies were asked to choose their colors. Oh, how they enjoyed the process of choosing the color and thinking about how they wanted their nails done! Some were very creative, they wanted different colors on different fingers, some wanted sparkles and others wanted nail stickers.
As the sisters worked on their hands, the ladies spoke a lot. They opened up about their experiences and their everyday life. They spoke of their family, their loved ones and their situations. It was inspiring to see how some of them were determined to get off the streets and find a home for themselves. They also repeatedly kept telling how they were enjoying being pampered with the manicure Seva. Some men came over for breakfast and were very glad to see that this was happening. They even commented that the ladies were being treated like queens! The ladies were indeed enjoying all the attention!
When the sisters were done adorning the nails, they all chatted and waited for the paint to dry. Some ladies got a good lotion massage to wrap up the manicure Seva. The sisters took pictures with them as they thanked everyone for being there and kept admiring their newly painted, clean nails. The ladies asked when the group would return! Because of these requests from the ladies, the group has decided to make the manicure Seva an ongoing one. While the group was just about to wrap up and leave after saying goodbye, the lady who was observing the group all the while, crossed the street and came closer. ‘My name is Jada’, she said. ‘Can I get my nails done?’
The sisters were surprised. When first asked, she had brushed the sisters away, but slowly and surely, Bhagawan had convinced her that here was a harmless group, just trying to spread joy and nothing else. Following her, few more joined in the queue, the sisters re-opened the shop and went through the same process for Jada and a few others as well. After the manicure Seva, it was time to head back home but not before promising the ladies that the group would be back again to spend time with them!
The sisters were so grateful to Bhagawan for this opportunity to share their love and joy with the women on the streets, to find sisters in them as well. The group was indeed touched by the fact that a small act of love could make someone so joyful. As Bhagawan says, ‘Love Is All There Is’!