Leaving the idea of food for the hungry behind, we started thinking afresh. While it is only the hungry that would come to a wall where food is distributed we decided that everyone would like to have money. We now had to think of a mechanism where we could distribute money easily and in an orderly way. The plan of getting a gadget built by one of our group members immediately appeared too ambitious, with less than a week remaining we had to come up with something simpler.
Then we hit upon the idea of using balloons. With small amounts of cash fitted inside the balloons, we could not only help the needy but also create an activity in which we would all have fun. With this we turned ‘Deewar-e-Mehrbani’ into Ghubara-e-Mehrbani’. Balloons of kindness seemed doable and interesting. We then filed details of our plan with the Do Good Mob, with a selfie of our group.
Only two days to go (Friday the 12th), and we find out that there is a meeting that would weed out our flaws. With our team leader in bed with typhoid, another member had to attend. The Mob told us to drop the idea of cash as it could create problems of crowd control and use eatables. We agreed on toffees and chocolates, (they also gave us some biscuit boxes) but I felt that the real soul of our activity would be sucked out. We had decided to stage our activity in the flower market in F-6, we were advised to change it to F-7.
We now decided that our primary targets of kindness would be children.
By the help of 12 charts pasted on our wall and Ghubara-e-Mehrbani written in bold letters, our wall was almost complete. Balloons filled by a vendor nearby completed our decorations.
If there was one mistake that we made, it was our lack of prep. We had all the materials ready but no toffee filled balloons inflated. By the time we set up our wall, some kids had started to gather.
We had to ask them to return a little while later. Our plan of flooding the wall with balloons prior to beginning of our activity now seemed difficult.
The balloons were burst roughly at the same rate as they were filled. Still the party was in full swing by noon, a mere hour after we had started. Some people had gathered around the wall, we decided to ask for their help. Asad, a tourist from Lahore was first to respond. He helped for about 15 minutes in our activity. Some shopkeepers who had come over also lent a hand.
All our food items did not go into the balloons, we also hung a basket containing the biscuits. Fully understanding that the wall was made for them, the children started filling the balloons themselves. At this point we added our chocolates and toffees to the basket.
The children set up such an atmosphere that it threatened to get out of control. At this point we decided that a break was needed. During the break a boy Muhammad Mehtab helped us to fill an entire car with inflated balloons. This exercise proved its worth when the party resumed. We presented Mehtab with a candy filled balloon in recognition for his help.
We decided that the word ‘No’ would not be used. Everyone who wanted something would get it. Shopkeepers asked us to give them balloons for their children, all sorts of people asked us for chocolates and we obliged them all.
The children who were mostly flower sellers, ended up giving us flowers trying to return favors.
As we ran out of balloons, we gave away the last of our chocolates to the children and decided to call it a day. In a short space of around 3 hours we used up 400 balloons, and numerous biscuits chocolates and toffees. As we restored our wall to its original state, we were approached by a kid expecting to get something. I found in my pocket one last balloon, a special one. It was greeted with a smile from the young girl.
The children had amazing energy, they truly saw the wall as their own. Just what we had hoped for. They will never forget the great day they had.
Note: All team members were involved in photography.