Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bharathapurum

A few days ago we went to the leprosy colony called Bharathapurum.  This is the second colony I've been to during my time here.  I am amazed each time we go out into these colonies of how they live in the heat and poverty every day of their lives, and at how much love and generosity they show to everyone around them.  Bharathapurum is a more established colony than some.  They have a barber shop, a community center, and even an art studio!

When we drove up we split into two groups.  One group went to walk around the colony and greet people and the other group started washing feet of the leprosy afflicted.  I was in the first group walking around the colony, and we stopped by the art studio.  The people in the studio were so sweet and talented!  The art studio was started about 10 years ago by an Austrian man (not sure of his name). He taught painting to the people in the colony.  Their paintings are GORGEOUS!  I am going to load up on some when I go home, so if anyone would like me to get them one, let me know and I will pick one out for you.  They are about $45 american dollars each.  http://www.bindu-art.at/  All of the artists have had leprosy and many are missing fingers or other limbs.  The people in the art studio actually have to be accepted into the studio, so they really are the best of the best. 










And this is the barber shop.  The barber has wounds from leprosy that are really deep.  He will probably have to have part of his leg amputated at some point.  I met him that day and he's such a happy guy.  He is very proud of his work as a barber.

The Barber



This is their community center where these pretty ladies are making pearl necklaces for "Pearls with a Purpose".  Pearls for a purpose teaches these womern how to start their own businesses using micro-lending.  http://donate.risingstaroutreach.org/pearls.  Rising Star Outreach is very involved in Micro-Lending.  I can explain more on that later, but it's really helped these colonys become more functioning villages. 


New Computer Lab!


Construction



There's lots of trash everywhere...




And cows (2 of them... hahahhhaa)



Once we were done walking around the colony, we were able to go to the medical clinic and help wash the wounds of the leprosy afflicted patients.  Around 2 times a month we visit each colony to clean their feet and other wounds, and re-bandage them. Some people have more mild sores, and others, like the barber have deep ones.  We set up a row of stations for these folks to go through.  I was at the bandage removal area that day.  I helped remove old bandages.  The next person cleaned around the sores and soaked the patients feet.  The next rubbed oil around the wounds.  Lastly someone would re-bandage their wounds. 

The second woman I helped had no feet at all.  Her leprosy was obviously severe and I found it really difficult not to cry as I was taking off her bandages.  It's really humbling to come to a place like this.  It's just really hard to put into words.  



We had a podiatrist in our volunteer session. 


 That was the end of my time in Bharathapurum, but I am sure I will be back there in the next few months.  On a happy note, today was parents day at the school so most of the kids got to hang out with their families and I was able to meet a lot of them.  Sadly little Hari's parents didn't come visit, but his Grandma did.  I could tell he was really bummed out his parents weren't there. It totally broke my heart.  I made him a bracelet to try and help him feel better.  A few hours after I gave him the bracelet, I didn't see it on his wrist. I asked where it was, and he lifted his sleeve near his bicep and showed it to me. hahaa.  Apparently I made the bracelet wayyyy too big so he wore it at the top of his arm.  So cute.

This is a woman from Bharathapurum.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ipod obsession!

The kids LOVE technology...especially Ipods and cameras. Good luck holding on to them! Also, I have been told by Hari numerous times that I need to get more games on my ipod.  He flashes his cute big smile and of course I download a few more games for them.  He's already got me wrapped around his finger and it's only been 5 days.
 



video




Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hello from India!

HELLO FROM INDIA!!  Why is it that it takes me forever to get something started? I don't consider myself a perfectionist but for some reason it took me 2 days just to come up with a blog name. "For the Love" for now is a personal blog of my experiences in life. Some funny with a dose of sarcasm because I like to keep it real, as well as some wonderful experiences I am bound to have in the next 8 months. So, in some posts you will get the feel "For the Love! WTF am I doing in India?!", or you will get "For the Love...this place is amazing with BEAUTIFUL and KIND people".

I am so excited to finally blog about all the happenings of the past few days! Most of you that are reading this know that I decided to go volunteer in India until this November. Coming to the decision to spend 8 months in India came really quickly for me...unlike most other decisions I have made in my life. I usually have to weigh all my options, and considering it took me a couple of days to even come up with a blog name, you can probably imagine how long normal decisions take! But for some reason, coming to India just felt right and I jumped on the opportunity to come out here. And I am SO happy I did! Granted, it's only been a few days, but already I have felt such love from the people here. The Indian people are so sweet and generous. And the kids...OMG(yeah i just omg'd) are so cute! So far they are the best part about all of this.

I am volunteering for an organization called Rising Star Outreach www.risingstaroutreach.org. The people we work with either have or have had leprosy, and many of their children come to the Rising Star school for their education. This is a great school and these kids are very lucky and blessed to be able to go here.  I will touch more on what goes on throughout my time here, but that gives you an idea.

Now time for the best part - PHOTOS!

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARI!!  This is Hari (Harikrishnan) and his friend Devi. Devi says she is Hari's sister but I've heard from other kids that she is fibbing...I am not sure who to believe yet :).  Oh and it's Hari's bday today!


 This is Hari and Vijay.  They are really excited because both of their sponsors came out to volunteer this time.  They LOVE their sponsors!  Sponsors pay $30 a month for a kid to be able to attend the Rising Star School.  I will tell you more about this later, but if you are interested in sponsoring a child just go to www.risingstaroutreach.org and sign up!!

 The girl on the left is Ti Ti.  She made me play tag with her for an hour and I suck.  She is so fast!



 Me and Hari.  So many pictures of him today! But... it is his birthday and I can't get enough of him! (ps I am finally getting over retianing a ton of water and jet lag...I swear I look like a sweaty swollen mess in these pics.  Let's hope that curry and rice for 8 months will make me skinny!)

 Silly boys.