Thursday, May 24, 2012

Have been mentally trying to go through my NJH kitty to see what I can fish out from my years there.The memories that are fondest in my heart it seems,are the times I spent in the villages around NJH and with the villagers in the numerous get-togethers we organised.Just making them feel comfortable,seeing the joy in the faces of the boys at the arrivals,their heartfelt and absolute commitment to the cause,their unquestioning trust in us and the relationship we shared as a community inspite of the great disparity.They were a generous lot..giving of their time,which must have been costly for them.
We conducted a camp in Serendagh,which is the hub of naxal activity.
Drove all the way in the hospital van,deep into the jungle blowing the horn every now and then.I remember half way through the trip being stopped by a battalion of young kids with hard faces in green get-up with guns slung over their shoulder.We stopped the van while the two of them walked up,there were a few 'Lal salaams' in the air ,they made enquiries before they let us go .These were the so called'party people'in their get-ups,we constantly hear about,the ghost who walks but is never seen.There was a palpable fear in the air.
I was curious to know how the health-workers in the field differentiated between the para-military groups who patrolled around and the 'party people'.The boys tell me that their height gives them away.Army men have a standard height for recruitment but the party boys come in all sizes.
I would have added,they look a lot younger,harder and absolutely ready to kill as well.
Going deeper into the jungle we suddenly bumped into an open space with a huge building in the middle of nowhere with boys and girls in light blue shirts and navy blue shorts.This is Jharkhand for you.There is almost no jungle or habitation the catholics have not reached.There was a clinic a stone's throw away from the place which had nuns from the God's own country and Ranchi running it.
We travelled further into the wild and then reached a clearing with a dilapidated broken down two roomed complex which I believe is the government's school structure where we parked the car and set our clinics.
As always,it was the geriatric group who were patiently waiting for us.
Even as the clinic started heads started poking out from every nook and corner,mom's and kids with congenital anomalies,lumps and bumps,ulcers,rheumatic heart diseases.....I looked on in helplessness even as I desperately tried to take care of their complaints with the limited resources I had in my hand.
During our time in NJH ,simple viral fevers and cough and cold never walked into the OPD.Amongst the poor villagers there were hardly any migraines,depresion,and the so called diseases of the men and women of leisure.
When we live in communities within a confined space,eighty percent of our time is taken up by non-issues,solving problems which should never have been there in the first place.Viscious cycles these non-issues generate can keep genuinely well intentioned individuals away from things that matter.In the light of the wretchedness and immense poverty of the area that we serve sometimes I wonder if we as a community will have a lot more to answer-sins of omission,sins of comission but most importantly the sin of adjusting and compromising to the whims of the few who continue to take much of our time which .

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