The past two weeks there have been camps in Southall and Slough. At both camps the topic for the workshop was "Why am I proud to be Sikh?" which followed by a general talk on general Sikhi, Rehat, making the right choices and awakening the mind.
Below are some photos from class held at the Southall Singh Sabha Gurdwara camp that took place at the Norwood Green school.
Group work discussions
Younger group having discussions:
This uncle jee was at the camp. He was so Chardi Kalaa. He had the Nishaan Sahib always in his hand. Bhai Sahib said that he was old now and the one seva he was capable of doing is holding the Guru's Nishaan wherever he goes. Very inspiring and Chardi Kalaa attitude to life.
On Tuesday I went to the Khalsa Sikh Primary School in Slough camp. There were over 300 children there. The school is amazing! The design of the building is great. I wish I was a child again so that I could go to that school! Waheguru. The classes ranged from the topics of Seva, basic Rehat, Bajjar Kurehats and a summary and history of the Sikh Rehat Maryada. It was nice to see some friendly faces from Bradford at camp :)
On the way back home I had to take the train. The train stopped at Oxford where I had to change. It was long journey but I was given loads of Gurmat books from Slough by a Bhaaji which kept my me busy. At Oxford I had to wait at the station for the Birmingham train. There weren't many people around. On the bench there was an Arab or East European looking man sitting on the bench. He looked astonished when he looked at me. He was looking at the Dastaar (turban) and Kurta Pyjama. I decided to sit on the bench. I thought perhaps he has got scared looking at me and feels uncomfortable that late at night there is not many people around and that I am standing near him.
I sat on the bench and carried on reading the books I had with me. The man then asked me "When is next train to Birmingham." So I told him. After a waiting some time I decided to ask the man, "Which country are you from?" He said that he was Kurdish from (Southern) Iraq. We started talking. It was kind of strange considering that he initially looked bit disturbed but now he felt okay. I asked him if he was sight-seeing in Oxford. He didn't know much English but enough to have a basic conversation. He said that he came to visit his cousin.
I asked him about his family and he said that they were all back in Iraq. The train arrived and I said bye to him thinking that he would want to sit somewhere else on the train but he decided to sit on the seat near me. So I decided to talk to him. He was happy that I was talking to him and asking about his family. He got excited and said, "Sir, I show you photos of my family." I smiled and said okay. He opened his bag and got an envelope full of photos. He showed photos of his mother, father, sisters, brothers. Waheguru. If you think Panjabi families are big, think again. He showed all his relatives.
I asked, "Do you go to Mosque and pray." He looked bit embarrassed and said that he didn't go to the Mosque but he should. I said "Do you remember & thank God?" He said, "Yes I thank God." I was shocked to hear that he was 19 years old. He explained how got to the UK and it didn't sound too glamorous! Very tough and dangerous. He said that he has no one here and he feels lost so he smokes and drinks alcohol. We discussed how God helps us and that God is the biggest friend you can want and that we are never alone. He agreed that alcohol and smoking wasn't the solution to his problems. By that time my stop had come and we said good-bye.
It's strange how Waheguru causes us to meet people. Afterwards I thought to myself that we are very lucky with the lives we have in this country. We have the support of Guru Sahib, the Saadh Sangat and family. There are others in the world who don't have that and instead feel the need to turn to alcohol, drugs and other things to fill in the void in the heart. Guru Sahib has done so much Kirpaa on us yet we so easily forget this. Meeting this man at the train station reminded me that I was lucky that my Guru is always with me and gives hope.