The Conch interviews Bhakta Steve Smith.
Conch (C): How long have you been travelling and working with the mobile catering unit and what attracted you to the service?
Steve (S): I’ve been doing this service for five years. I really wanted to do something for the Hare Krishna Movement and give something back because it has done so much for me in the form of Krishna consciousness, giving me the tools to change my life. The travelling also allows plenty of time to chant quality rounds – and lots of them.
(C): What is the sleeping set-up like and how much rest do you get?
(S): It’s basic, mainly in tents, but sometimes we are lucky enough to have devotees accommodate us. Normally sleep is limited to between four and six hours, but because of the long days, even noise and rain does not spoil the quality of the sleep.
(C): What kind of service are you involved in?
(S): I’m involved in the cleaning; food preparation; serving the prasadam and making everyone’s favourites – Kofta balls; and generally whatever else is required.
(C): Are the people attending the events reasonably well-behaved or do you have any problems with them?
(S): Generally most people are very well behaved and accepting of the catering team. It is so nice to find that most people quickly come to know you by your name, because they see you so often at different events. Some even look forward to seeing you at the different venues and often come over to greet you. It’s a nice feeling.
(C): What do you like about the service?
(S): The service itself and the joy it brings to people who eat the prasadam, for which they return again and again. Many people become addicted to the prasadam, but can’t explain the feeling that they get from eating it. I have seen amazing transformations in people in a drunken aggressive state who become passive, blissful beings after hearing our catering team’s kirtana.
(C): What advice can you give to others who want to join the team?
(S): If you have the opportunity, do yourself a favour and jump right in, because you will love it. It is also an opportunity to associate with devotees you wouldn’t normally meet and make lots of new friends.
*Steve recently successfully completed the ISKCON Disciple course.