Doing What Needs to Be Done – Well: GIEU India 2015 (by Liam)

One skill that I admire so much in the sikhs working at the Golden Temple is the intuition to see what needs to be done, have the courage to just GO DO IT, and be able to execute swiftly and efficiently. This is a skill that I have also admired in some of my peer GIEU classmates, especially Shayan and Monica this morning. Shayan saw a man carrying heavy logs alone and pushing them into the huge stoves under the giant lentil pots. Without too much fuss, he just went right ahead and started helping the man carry the logs, and really sped up the process of filling the stoves with wood. Monica saw the men pouring out the water after cleaning lentils, and saw that one of the men pouring was also using a strainer with one hand to catch stray lentils. She just took the strainer into her own hands, so that the man could focus on pouring. She had assessed the situation and stepped in without fanfare in a helpful and efficient manner. This is a skill I wish to learn from and emulate.

After successfully helping to roll out the runners/mats for sitting in the langar hall, I decided to try my hand at serving the food. I started out with rice, which went well! I went through a whole bucket without too many problems, because everyone seemed to want rice. With prasad, however, I had more difficulties. Apparently I have extreme problems with telling the difference between the hand motions for “just a little” and “no thank you”. I was scolded by not only the consumers at the langar, but the men working there. The worst part was the language barrier; not being able to ask questions or apologize when you mess up is beyond embarrassing. I won’t be serving there again in the foreseeable future.

That being said, I had an excellent time at the dishwashing station today! Instead of washing the dishes, I took upon myself the task of moving the bowls, plates, and spoons from the rack above one station to the basin of the next one. With my advantageous height (6’4”) I was easily able to reach over people while they were washing and minimally disturb their work. I really enjoyed this job, because I felt like I found my niche where I could do the most good with my situation.

-Liam

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