Thanks for the emails and prayers! Things are going well here. I had my first day working with the sisters today, which was a bit crazy at first. I've always felt really called to work at Kalighat, the home for the dying, but the other three girls i'm here with were going to work at ShiShu Bhavan, a home for children waiting to be adopted. So I was nervous and didn't know anyone or where to go after morning Mass and breakfast with the volunteers. I found some people, though and we were off.
As a nurse, I can help in a different way than all of the other volunteers. The "normal" volunteers work get to Kalighat and do laundry, then they sit with the patients for a while, usually just holding their hands, hugging them, singing to them, etc. Then there is a 10:30 break for tea and biscuits for the volunteers and after that the dry laundry is folded, the patients are fed lunch, and then we go home.
As a nurse, I did dressing changes all day. I won't tell you about it in detail because the wounds are very graphic. I'll just say that wounds rarely (I hope) get this bad in the United States. It is very sad to see people enduring this amount of suffering in their daily lives. Most of them are so patient, though, it's heroic. I know that I am helping people a lot by being able to do their dressing changes, but I see the other volunteers being able to be there for them emotionally in possibly a deeper way, which I am slightly envious of. I guess I can work on being more like this while I'm working with people too.
As far as life in India, we are all adjusting well. It's not nearly as hot as I imagined it would be, which is good. Everyone is so nice to us and had been helping us with anything we need.
Yesterday we went to see Victoria Memorial, a museum about what life was like when the British were here around the 1800s. One of our friends from the hotel took us, which was very nice. As we were leaving, we wanted to get some bottled water, so Hakim (the man who took us) went to go get some. We saw a men with monkeys on leashes and wanted to see them. They came over and the monkey danced for us and we took some pictures. Then he told us to give him 200 rupees, which is rediculously expensive for watching monkeys dance. Kyli, one of the girls with us immediately gave him Rs200 and then he asked for 100 more rupees. Kim said "no!" and then one of hte monkeys came over and bit her hand!
Just then Hakim came back with the waters and said "I leave you alone for 10 minutes and you spend 200 rupees and get bit by a monkey!" So true. People always ask us how much we've paid for things and then usually tell us that we've paid too much. The man probably should have gotten 10 rupees or less.
So Kim and I had to go to the hospital so she could get rabies shots. It was a far cry from American hospitals. It reminded me of the hopsital in the movie "Pearl Harbor." There were bugs and everything seemed like it was at least 50 years old. We were a bit afraid but everything has seemed to work out so far. She has to get 4 more shots now. Poor Kim!
Well, I should go now! Thank you so much for your email! I love hearing from you and am so blessed to be included in your prayers!
Know that you are also in mine!
God bless you,