Chakra Announcements

Flood of Volunteers

by Caru Das

Posted June 16, 2006

Every one, if not more, of the promised 150 volunteers showed up at the temple by 9:30 am Saturday morning. The vast majority were teenagers, with about 20 adult mentors. From what I understand they were all from an LDS stake which is adjacent to the Provo Temple.

The organizer, Warner Woodworth, was immediately recognizable to me, as he has been to the temple many times, including to the Ground Breaking ceremony in 1996. Warner is the Founder of Unitus, an organization in India which gives micro loans to empower people in small businesses. He mentioned they hope within a year or two to have reached a goal of having given loans to 2,000,000 people. He is also the founder of HELP which assists people in African countries. The CEO of HELP, Jennifer Bohemne (sp?) was married here in the temple a few weeks ago to Rahul Kumar, a Ph.D. student at BYU.

Another familiar adult personality was Jim Toronto, the Stake President these last 8 years. Jim is a middle eastern expert who taught World Religions for a number of years at the Y. While doing so, he referred 100's of his students to the temple, and came often himself. Several times we had meaningful talks in his office and bumped into each other casually while jogging. Many times I have happened to chat with students who had taken his classes, and every one said that Jim Toronto didn't just teach them, but he inspired them and uplifted them. Jim still teaches at BYU, but exclusively classes on the Middle east, We don't see him and his students as much as we used to, so it was great to have him on hand Saturday.

Another adult I spoke to briefly was Steven Covey Jr., who told me he had quoted the Rig Veda in a recently published book. I gave him a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which he was delighted to receive.

I stood by while Warner chatted with my llama shearing partner, Doug Jackson, the President of Deseret International Foundation. Doug described his CEO role as facilitating indigenous doctors who want to benefit the handicapped. From any country a consortium of doctors can submit a proposal, and Doug asks them, "OK. What do you need: money, training, equipment etc.?" Warner talked with Doug about opening up India in this way.

After most of the group had arrived, I gave a tour, using microphones because of the size of the crowd. After half an hour Vai came upstairs and good humoredly insisted we all "GET TO WORK."

She did a magnificent job of organizing all 150 volunteers. She described all the tasks and broke them down into teams and leaders, with tools, Devotee team leaders were Blake, Jagannatha, Akincana, and Mikela. At first it seemed pandemonium and nothing would get done, but within a few minutes of instruction, everyone one found their rhythms, and major work was accomplished, as follows:

  1. Filled holes in the roadway leading up to the temple
  2. Weeded and planted grass seed under the amphitheater pavilions
  3. Dug two huge holes near the temple and ashram to find and clear the cover of the septic systems of both buildings (now we can get both cleaned out)
  4. Sheared a dozen llamas
  5. Caulked temple arches and columns
  6. Installed one AC unit in the temple office
  7. Rebuilt and repainted jumps and ramps for the llama obstacle course
  8. Painted steel beams on the temple verandah to prevent rust
  9. Washed and cleaned the temple ground floor
  10. Removed streaks on temple walls from burning incense
  11. Washed 30 seven foot high windows
  12. Mowed the amphitheater grass and the grass in front of the ashram,
  13. Did lots of weed whacking, and weeding around the lake and trees,
  14. Fixed some fencing
  15. Cleaned out five different corrals of manure and relocated it for topsoil on other parts of the property
  16. Restocked and dusted in the gift store
  17. Put up some some molding on the interior of the main dome

Everyone enjoyed the lunch, for which they had undoubtedly developed an appetite with all their hard work. We polished off substantial quantities of rice and raisin pilau, cherry hallava, marmalade stir fry, saag paneer, mashed potatoes with sour cream and peas, spaghetti in marinara sauce, mango lemonade, papadams, fudge, pies, and salad.

The devotees and myself were deeply touched by this selfless donation of time and energy by the young people and their leaders. However, we did not get the luxury of lounging around to enjoy the warm after glow of this epic event, as throughout the rest of the day there came an unending cavalcade of visitors, who toured, shopped, and dined.

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