Saturday, July 24, 2010

He is the rock of my salvation!

The last ten days have been a time of soul-searching indeed.
It started with Shalom seeing Jesus in the mess-it was young Jonathan with his beard,et al.It intrigiued me no less to know that the little boy has this fascinating talent of personifying different people from a different plane altogether.It would be absolutely normal for him to identify you as a fruit,an animal or a character in the cartoon net-work.I wondered aloud to Jeevan as to whether he was a great cartoonist in the making!Not bad at all for a two and a half year old child.
In the midst of the transition hulla-bulla,felt a strange spiritual pressure to make a quick trip home to meet up with a dear uncle,visiting from abroad and a brother who is dearly sick.It was a precious time at home with the family.
I met my cousin for the first time since he has been diagnosed and that was eleven months back.He has been a fighter all his life.Eleven months had brought a sea of change in him.Everytime we met we would have discussions gallore with him ribbing me about my faith.Here he was as frail as can be,still at it...even when every word was an effort....through the pain of seeing him so weak I couldn't but help smiling...it warmed my heart.He looked so ethearel and beautiful-I caught his hands,amidst the hundred and something oil lamps and the tiny silver wheel of life rotating at the head end of his bed-I prayed-oh I prayed ,a silent prayer-I felt strangely at peace.All I wanted to do was lay my head beside him and just be -in his frailty,I felt ever so close to my savior.Lord jesus,How well you have loved me!'Even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death,thou art with me thy rod and thy staff....they comfort me.'

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nine years of my life!

Finished packing nine years of my life in two hours.
Parcelled,taped and ready to be carted by GATI travels.
Mostly books,a few electronic items and kit-kats I have set my heart on along the way,...a lamp-shade I picked up in Kolkotta,..a hand-woven basket for the flowers...the cushions which my sister picked up for me from Dwarka......my manicure set.....my guitars and a synthesisor...things that kept me going.......at times.
Now for a quick trip home to Mangan to say hello to my family and I start off with just a bag or two to worry about.
Am I sad to leave Satbarwa?-strangely not.Just a deep sense of peace......I believe it is God's time! It is Herbertpur time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My country,my people!

It's tenth of July already and it has not rained as it should in central India.We hear of floods in the north causing havoc.A fifty year old farmer from CHopan walks into the out-patient.It is hot,humid and uncomfortable.He has an abdominal pain and has travelled more than five hundred kilometers to the hospital.I attend to his ailment and then I strike a conversation with him.Is it raining in your place?I immediately connect.No rains in Chopan either,the rivers,ponds and the streams are all drying off.He says ,till now they have not even tilled the land!So what will you do this year ,I ask.He says he will plant maize and vegetables.That will happen after the rain comes ,if it comes at all because they have no other alternatives for irrigation.
I ask him what happens if there is no rain at all this year and he says they will find a daily wage work where construction of building and roads are on and he is not getting a day younger!
The next person to be wheeled into the emergency is a young boy with a snake-bite(viper)with all it's terrible side effects-they are poor villagers who have come all the way from Panki,a block in Palaumu were they say not even a leaf moves when there is a bundh and it is in a state of almost an absolute bundh for better part of this year.
A vial of ASV cost around three hundred and fifty rupees-the bystander has one thousand rupees in his hands for the treatment which I wonder where he has arranged from!
Rains to most of us means a more comfortable and a cool weather to enjoy but to the vast majority of our land it means livelihood!
A thousand rupees is the price we pay for a single meal eaten at leisure in a restaurant,to the little boy with the snakebite and many more it was a straw which was to keep them floating till they found a footing somewhere-a passport to life perhaps and I complain my life is difficult!.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Outisde our comfort zones!

With due respect to all my colleagues who work in the government departments and many of whom are beyond reproach,we, who work in the heart of rural India, have been for decades very cynical of the government machineries.Often all things government are synonymous for 'corruption' in these areas.They have been known to sit on files and make life difficult for people who actually want to do something.
Over the last several years,I have been seeing a shift in the general trend-most of our units have opened up to the national programmes and are walking hand in hand with them towards the MDG.
We have seen ourselves as people who have been called to stand in the gap for the rural population and in some areas also to make sure that the tax-paper's money percolates down to the lowest strata in the form of health facities........etc,etc....but I see a bigger role our faith-based health-care institutions have .It is to set a trend in the way these programmes are managed,the facilities delivered and the way we interact with the stakeholders concerned- a totally different way.....the way of Christ!-that could be the only reason the doors are opening...May we be able to read the sign of times,may we be able to stand, move with it and be what we are called to be outside our comfort zones!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A culture of scarcity-a culture of intense pain!

I don't really know if it is the same elsewhere.
The government has influxed a huge amount of money at the hands of the stakeholders and yesterday some of our community health department boys were telling us how people are making money out of the systemn's loop-holes.
There were two ways in particular they described.
The people who do not have the BPL card go up to the sahiyas who find a suitable name with a BPL number in the list and plant it in the coupen as the ante-natal lady's husband and get money out of the systemn and perhaps takes a commission from the patient's family.How did the community health worker come to know about it?One innocent village lady asked if that was one way it could be done because the others were doing it.
There were some other things the CH guys shared which my fading memory seems to have failed to capture.
This ,as opposed to those faithful DOTS providers the team nurtured in the villages of Satbarwa!Simple village folks,altruistic at a cost-bringing in patients faithfully from the village, sometimes paying the transport fee themselves,following up the patients for six months,without the renumeration from the government.Faithfully doing their work,making everyone wonder how it worked!I remember Arun from TB Alert expressing his wonder at the commitment of these simple,poor village folks.
When Nirmal Bhuiya ,one of those faithfuls was asked what drove him to do it,he replied that his child had been cured of TB after having had DOTS faithfully,he had volunteered to become a DOTS provider and eversince he had taken up this responsibility of giving DOTS,the lord had blessed him,he had become a leader of sorts in the village....he had also been entrusted with other responsibilities ...it spoke somewhere of increased self esteem...somewhere of the so-called term...'empowerment'!
It was a culture that truly inspired a lot of us who had the privellage to work with these individuals where God seems so near!