Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Time Flies
20 december 2013
Another week has passed and we are almost on the halfway mark of our internship.
We are starting to figure out our way around the village and the city. A couple of times we went to do groceries or visit tourist attractions by using public transport. Since everything is written in Tamil I feel like an illiterate person. I am not able to read a single thing. It is really interesting to experience this from the other side. Luckily we know a few of the end stations and we meet a lot of friendly people who helped getting us on the right bus. It is fun to see this side of the Indian lifestyle. We can take a taxi, a Tuk Tuk or hire a car, but eventually the best way to discover a culture is by integrating in the community.
The work we have been doing the past week has mostly been in our village, Thalakkudi. The travels were all done by walking, which is not a bad thing when it is 30 degrees with a blue blue sky. Every morning I get up an hour earlier to just enjoy the sun and a glass of pineapple juice on our balcony - definitely someting I will miss.
We visited the scavengers group multiple times this week. We continued with the English classes and we already saw a lot of improvement concerning vocabulary and pronunciation. This might seem a less important aspect but for the kids it is a big deal that they are able to communicate in English if they move into the city once they are older. We plan to buy some study books for them this weekend in which they can read, write and learn how to speak.
Next to the English lessons we also focused on hygiene and health. I read an interesting article on nu.nl yesterday, about 3FM Serious Request in Burundi. (http://www.nu.nl/buitenland/3656661/reportage-burundi-handen-wassen-overleven.html red.) It is the exact same situation here. Unfortunately there are still too many places where people are not aware of hygiene. By giving the classes to children, we want to focus on prevention instead of treatment. The past week we taught them about diseases that are common in this area, such as Malaria and Dengue-fever. We taught them about risk factors and prevention. Next to that we discussed infections and the dangers of street animals. The kids were really active and eager so the classes were fun. We used some visuals to reduce the language barrier and this seemed to work. Our sign language is also going pretty well.
We ended the classes with hand washing. This is really important because most of the diseases in India are infectious. This means that it is spread, directly or indirectly, from person to person. The diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. We told the children to remember to wash their hands, every time they eat, every time they go to the toilet and every time they stop playing around the garbage. We gave them bars of soap which will disinfect their hands and decrease the chance of getting a disease.
The classes we gave to the scavengers families are on the side of the road, in front of a hut. The living conditions are pretty awful and we decided to help these people out by building an extra hut to arrange the meetings. In that way it is much safer for the children and they can continue through bad weather. We will also build a toilet since the families do not have one right now and as you can imagine the hygiene around the huts is not the way it should be.
On Tuesday we met a women group. There were around 50 to 60 women, all of them listening intently to what we were saying. The women were suffering from some physical complaints during their work in the field so we gave them some exercises and posture corrections to cope with their problems. Next week or the week after we will meet this group again and see if there are some changes in the physical health aspect of these women.
Wednesday I prepared an awareness program including some exercise therapy for pregnant women in the Primary Health Center. This is a Health Center with one nurse who is able to treat people who have a fever and do checkups on pregnant women. If there is a more severe complaint then she will send them to the hospital, which is 20km’s away.
The program for the women was really interesting. I started with some registrations because I want to measure the improvement they make during the therapy. Then I told them some things about nutrition. Every single one of the women has anemia. Anemia means that there is a shortage of red blood cells in the body. This is a consequence of malnutrition since the women have bad access to the nutrition they and their babies need. They use tablets every day to raise their hemoglobin level. Which brings me to another interesting side of Indian culture; When people are sick, they just go to the doctor and get a few pills, tablets or injections and they are better. But they do not know what caused the disease, or how to prevent it, so it is most likely that it will happen again.
What I was trying to do with the women was to give them some pain relief and muscle strengthening exercises. In this way they might be able to decrease their pain level and make the whole pregnancy more bearable. I am really curious to see whether they actually practiced at home and if the exercises have a positive effect on their bodies, but I will find out next week.
Another interesting thing was that the women did not feel like talking about their physical problems in the group. Once the meeting ended they all came up to me and asked me if I knew something for this pain, and something for that problem. Even within their own target group they are afraid to share their personal things. They felt ashamed when talking about pelvis problems, while women in Europe suffer from the same things during pregnancy. The whole culture is just that you keep those things to yourself, while it should be an accepted subject to talk about.
Since the exams have ended and the holidays are starting we have a calm week ahead of us. The children are free from the schools so we will focus on the women group, the scavengers group and people with HIV/AIDS, which is still a stigma in India. We will continue with the awareness programs and try to make people more open-minded.
Stephanie & Bhavvik
Ps. We just discovered the ‘Domino’s’ restaurant. Pizza was never this good.
Foto's bij verslag (12)
20 december 2013 23:44 | Door: corrie
HéS tephanie enBhavvik , weer een geweldig verslag maar wat iser daar nog veel werk aan de winkel om de mensen te leren over hygiëne enz... Dat is niet zomaar even op te lossen..
Gave foto's ook zeg. maar ik dacht dat je inmiddels al koffiebruin zou zijn:-))
Ik wens jullie een mooie Kerstweek en al is het erg warm toch maar een beetje de Kerstgedachte er bij houden hoor.