We were on our way to the AID New Jersey Milan program, enjoying the scenic route along the Delaware Canal and the historic town of Yardley where we crossed a bridge so narrow that Nishikant’s collision detector did not know what to think.
In fact the chapter is called AID Central New Jersey, which might lead you to wonder just how big this state of New Jersey is. In fact, this is a new name for the chapter that started many years ago in Princeton and has grown to include students from Rutgers, as well as families living and working in the general New Jersey area.
Though Ravi wrote down the directions we mostly followed the voice from the gadget and reached the venue, Paradise Biriyani, where volunteers were busily putting final touches on the tables where guests would arrive in half an hour.
Nishikant checked his gadget and noted that it would take us 8 minutes to reach the Bridgewater temple. Off we dashed, following the commands of the voice in the machine. Winding our way through the corridors and up the stairs Ravi and I walked through the temple, which is not the same as it was when we got married. Only when we came out we caught a glimpse of the house that was the site of our wedding 17 years ago. But we didn’t know what was there now or if it would be open and we had to get back to the venue so away we went for another “8 minute” ride.
Several students banded together and collectively pledged $125 per month, adding $1500 to the total raised. That $1500 was perhaps the most inspiring contribution of the evening, for it reflected the way AID started and sustained, with monthly contributions by people that added up, built a self-reliant foundation, and helped people reach out to others. As usual the event, which puts AID in centre stage rather than confined to the introduction or the interval for another program, allowed people time to think about their own role in the big picture and how they could be part of the change. One gentleman, inspired by the successful implementation of watershed work in Surodi, pledged to support a similar effort in his home state. New Jersey volunteers will contact our partners in that region and see where they could best utilize his contribution. Seeds sown today may bear fruit several years from now.