Help for Goa's young dropouts
EACH YEAR; thousands of hippies travel to Goa, to the beautiful beaches on the West coast of India, south of Bombay. Many of them are on t( spiritual journey seeking peace and quiet, away from the pressures of modern society. Many have little in life except advanced drug habits.
The government of India has never been able to control this flow and many of these foreigners, robust and strapping young boys and girls, are turned into emaciated individuals within a few months, due to drugs.
Others of them try to commit suicide or end up in the mental hospital or prison. Others have all their money and goods stolen, including their passport.
Santo, a young Italian boy, was found on the beach, dead from starvation. Joe, an Irish boy was more fortunate. I found him on an isolated beach, alone, without food, money or passport, com pletely schizophrenic.
I brought him back to our centre, where fortunately we had a young English doctor working with us.
After some time, with love and care, Joe could relate to us. We contacted the Irish Embassy in India, contacted his parents in Ireland and now Joe is at home fast regaining his health and strength. Joe is one of 500 young people who have passed through our centre this year, 34 of them mental cases because of drugs.
Om Yeshu Niketan, our Christian Ashram (or centre) came into being in September 1981 to answer to the various needs of the hippies. Our core group of four included a Pallotine Priest (German), a sister of a secular Institute (English), a hippie (Argentinian) and myself (Irish), a Franciscan Missionary of Mary. We have the blessing and approval of the Local Bishop of Goa.
We could summarise our aims as follow:• To be a Christian Presence in this area.
• To offer an experience of meditation and prayer to Westerners coming to India in search of the Absolute.
• To be available to those in need of help to come off drugs.
• To assist the foreigners in the mental hospital or in prison: those physically sick, those who are in trouble with their Visas and passports, those who are stranded in India in any way whatsoever.
Will you help us to continue our work among these marginals of our society? Maybe your sons or daughters are among them, your brother or your sister. We have no financial support from any organisation only what God prompts you to give us.
We need you as they need us. We need your support, your prayer. Maybe you can even give your service to us for a year in the land in which St Francis Xavier laboured for Christ.
Please write to me at: Om Yeshu Niketan, Vagator Beach, Vagator P.O. 403 522, Goa, India. May God bless you abundantly.
Sr Angela Noonan FMM