by Rana Ata ur Rehman, MTA Intl.
Jalsa is a unique event, organised within a concise budget and run with the help of many devoted volunteer workers. Many of these folk often book their one or two weeks annual leave, well in advance so that they can offer their services . But of course , we all know that, ultimately, what makes this event, ‘the’ event of the year are the Blessings of God Almighty.
My earliest memory of offering my services for this noble cause was getting that green ‘muavin’ badge wrapped around my arm and picking up my 2 litre milk bottle, which was being recycled as a water container. Alongside me was my brother holding a stack of plastic cups. Both of us, with smiles on our faces would enter the iconic, big white marque in Islamabad, and get stopped time after time by Ahmadis, eager to drink the water we served them. The purpose of this experience was that we learnt about the meaning of serving guests at jalsa which is the responsibility of each and every able Ahmadi.
As we lived near Heathrow Airport, my teenage years were spent doing duty at Heathrow reception. Well, this was more of a walk in the park. Our guests came, we received, we made them sit down, we entertained them, and then we sent them off to the transport department. Now, I can assure you that transport is one tough duty! The guys who work in this department, have resolves of steel! For two weeks, their homes are their 17 seater vans. They drive relentlessly up and down M25 and the A3 delivering those beloved guests of the Promised Messiah to their destination, fueled by their sense of devotion.
I also remember the time when yours truly, had the opportunity to actually make the bread that we eat with the potato and beef stew served at jalsa , more commonly known as ‘Aloo Gosht’ . Now I didn’t exactly sign up for this, but fate took me to a small hall that was as warm as a middle eastern country during the height of summer. In front of me was a machine, designed by two Ahmadi engineers. Our work was divided up according to various stations, the first being six men stamping their fists on dough, their faces covered in white powder. The final station was the men who stacked the hot rugby ball shaped pieces of Pita bread. Yes, this is the Roti plant and each piece of roti is made with the love and dedication of your Ahmadi brothers at that plant! . The rules of the job are simple, you work like a machine according to the pace of the machine! . Believe me ! Its tough work, but someone’s got to do it!
I could go on and on, my brothers and sisters. Every duty has its challenges. I just want to remind all the guests who are attending jalsa that a lot of hard work goes into making this event what it is. There will be botches, and those moments when people will question the smoothness of the event. But let’s not forget how hard these volunteers work, and lets commend and pray for them, for its their zeal and enthusiasm that allows the rest of us to sit back enjoy jalsa! Ameen.
What have your most challenging duties been? Let us know in the comments section below!