June Update 2010
28th June 2010
Neonatal teaching from a visiting UK team...
In June, a small team spent two weeks in a mountainous tribal region in Tamil Nadu, running our first Neonatal Life Support and Basic Neonatal care course for the nurses and doctors, both at Bethany Medical Centre and two other hospitals in the region. Bethany Medical Centre is a 60 bedded hospital that was set up 20 years ago to provide medical care for the tribal people in a remote mountainous area on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.
40 nurses, doctors and nursing students received four days of fun, interactive teaching, learning how to save and look after babies. Dr Drusilla, a consultant paediatrician and Mary, a specialist neonatal nurse from Nottingham flew out with Cat, to join Drs Pete and Jenny. The team took out specialised equipment so that everyone could practice with the baby mannequins and bag & masks, learning vital skills about how to resuscitate babies at birth. The course ended with a practical test and certificates given out. A lot of fun was had whilst learning crucial life saving skills! The teaching was a great success and many friendships were made with the staff and students there. Everyone got to practice their new skills almost immediately as tribal women continued to come in for their deliveries.
The course is the start of an initiative for Love the One to help Bethany Medical Centre develop a mother, child and baby unit at the hospital
Many thanks to those of you who donated money to buy manuals and books for the tribal hospital to have as ongoing resources. We were also delighted to buy a baby mannequin for the hospital for ongoing teaching and training at the hospital.
Memorable Days out!
8th March 2010
In school holidays the Love the One team decided a trip to the beach was needed... with six very excited boys from one of the Mercy Homes. As soon as we picked them up it was clear that they were full of anticipation as it turned out they had never visited a beach before! They piled into our car and when we reached the beach ran straight to the water, with the team quickly following suit! After a good few hours in the sea we all had an ice cream to cool us down, and then played a game of cricket. When we managed to pull them away from the beach we surprised them with a trip to a nearby adventure playground. They were instantly at the top of climbing frames, zooming down the slide and flying high on the swings! When it started to get dark we gave them their final surprise of the day – a special meal out. They all managed to consume an enormous amount of Biryani, easily out-eating the adults! The day ended with a couple of songs being sang in the car on the way home before they all fell asleep after a busy afternoon of activity! Since the trip we have revisited the boys from the mercy home and given them a photo album of pictures from the outing. They were overjoyed to look at the pictures of themselves and once they had come to the final photo quickly flicked back to the beginning page to look all over again! A memorable day they and us will never forget...
Later on that month it was time for the girls to have a treat! A fun-filled day out for a home of 8 girls with their foster parents. For the first part of the trip we visited a well known place in their area, ‘The Hill’ where there is a beautiful view of the whole city, and, more importantly for the children, there is an amazing adventure playground! The kids, and the mercy home parents, were quick to check out all of the apparatus, and the bond between all of them was very apparent as they helped each other. After a few games led by us and the girls we all had some ice-cream, sung some songs and then took a walk around the hill.
We then went for some food at a prestigious hotel for the second part of their special day out. Their eyes all lit up as they saw the array of food in the buffet and plates were piled high with different types of meat and curries. Every tummy was full until the word pudding was mentioned, and we all managed to find room for a bit of fruit and ice-cream! It was a day out that we, our visitors from the UK, and the girls in the mercy home will remember for a long time. It was great being able to spend some time with this lovely home and to give a little bit back to the foster parents who work so hard looking after their children. We later found out that two of the foster Dad’s life-time wishes were to visit the hill and also to eat at this particular hotel!
Helping a local Leprosy Colony
4th January 2010
Early in 2010 an opportunity opened up for the Love the One team to brighten up the living conditions at a local Leprosy Colony. The Leprosy Colony is spread over many acres of land and the people live in blocks according to age and sex. Recently some of the toilet block's floors were re-cemented to make them a more suitable and safe surface to walk on. The organisation who funded the re-flooring asked if volunteers of Love the One would be happy to paint the toilets so that they were an all-round nicer place to visit! They were more than happy to accept this invitation.The toilet blocks walls and ceilings needed a good brush down and clean to remove cobwebs and dirt. Once this was completed the team set to work on covering the walls in blue paint. After a few coats, which dried quickly in the heat, they added stencils of varying styles and colours. The practical work was enjoyable in itself and the outcome of the work was pleasing to the eye!
However, the real reward from this work was the interaction with the residents from the colony. The first toilet block painted was for the ward for the elderly ladies and despite their age and infirmities some of them helped to provide water for the cleaning stage. They taught us how to throw water from a bucket in the most economical manner! The elderly ladies were very pleased with the stencils on the walls and it was great to see their happiness in looking at them. The second block painted was in the sick ward. In the sick ward there are residents of a variety of ages and states of health. Whilst painting these toilets there was a lot of interest and help from those in the sick ward. Some would come across to look at what was happening, others would offer help or advice and others would come for a chat. There was a real sense of community and a buzz of excitement during the painting. This was such a precious experience for all. The paints and stencils were left with those in the sick ward as they seemed so keen to decorate their sleeping quarters.
It was a real privilege to meet the people at the Leprosy Colony. Hearing of the social stigma which is still greatly attached to leprosy in India is very sad. All of the residents in the colony have been successfully treated for leprosy and are not carriers of the illness, however they are still outcasts . They now have to contend with the physical disabilities which the illness has left them with. Some of the residents could function in society well but because of the stigma have chosen to live in the colony, at times leaving their family behind never to see them again. The people at the colony are an amazing group of people that should not be forgotten.
The Christmas Party... Shining like Stars!
25th December 2009
The Christmas Party – Shining like Stars
In December we had a fun packed Christmas Party for 120 children of two of the slum communities we work with in Kerala. It was such a fantastic party jam packed with singing, drama, dancing, craft, sport, a talent show and an award ceremony! Led wonderfully by Lucy Murphy and our mixed Indian and European team we sang every day, and the children learnt new songs with actions, including our theme song ‘Burn Bright’.
The children absolutely loved the dancing, which Laura P and Laura R taught them step by step every day. Even at break times the children were practising it and asking the leaders to watch them perform! Sport was great fun, and included parachute games, ladders, football, sack races and lemon-and-spoon races… The stamina of the children astounded all the leaders, and it was tiring just watching them!
Lunch was a fantastic experience where we served the children and they could eat as much as they wanted, with the highlight on the last day - Christmas Chicken Biriyani and Christmas cake!
We had a huge variety of craft activites as well, including making snowflakes, Christmas cards, Santa Clause’s and Christmas trees. With coloured paper, glitter, stickers and coloured pens galore it was a hectic yet super fun few hours!
An overall highlight for many, both children and adults, was the talent show and award ceremony we had on the final day. All the children had been told about this in advance, and they had prepared and perfected different songs, dances and dramas to perform to everyone. With over 20 acts it was tight fitting the acts into the schedule, but we managed and were overwhelmed by the energy, enthusiasm and skill of everyone who performed!
The award ceremony followed, where we celebrated the children’s achievements over the past three days. Best Sport Person , Best Dancer, Best Craft, Best Christmas Card, and the most prestigious ‘Shining Star’ award were all given out, and the winners were treated like celebrities, with all the children wanting to shake their hands and have their photographs taken with them! For the younger children they particularly loved their special ‘Teddy bear awards’... where they were awarded their own special hand knitted teddy to cuddle rather than a medal or trophy!
After distributing t-shirts and presents to all the children the Christmas party drew to a close, with everyone eagerly anticipating a repeat next year!