26th September 2012
Joseph moves to Orissa...
It was Nov 2011 when I started work at the Love the One children's clinic in Orissa. The area where the clinic is situated is in a remote forestry area, poverty stricken, with little amenities and known rebel problems, so moving there felt a bit scary for me. To travel to Orissa was a 9hr journey from my place in Andhra Pradesh. After AP we then crossed a state called Chhattisgarh which is also one of the poorer states in India. After reaching Chhattisgarh we then had to travel for a further 3 hours on very poor bumpy roads, cross the river and then travel by motorbike to our destination.
Reaching there was a happy day for me and it was good to be part of the Love the One team, Mary and Cat and the team were waiting excitedly for me to come!
How did I find myself working in rural Orissa?
I had completed my postgraduate MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) and was in search of a job in an organisation which was really helpful for the poor and especially for the children, rather than looking for a job which would only benefit me financially. One day I met Mary and Cat, the Directors of Love the One, who shared about the work they were doing for the children in Orissa.
I applied for the job and was succesful in joining as PROJECT DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
My first impressions of rural Orissa...
At first, I was so shocked to see the poverty and conditions the villagers were living in. I had come from a middle class background and yet I did not know how my people were suffering so badly in other areas of my own country. On a positive note it was so good to see the work at the new children’s clinic was going really well and I enjoyed it so much. Every day we used to see 20 to 40 children come to the clinic with different sicknesses.
Many people in our community in Orissa believe strongly in black magic and there had been very little other health care.
After Love the One clinic started, so many children were treated and become better, so more and more people heard about this and started also coming to clinic to have correct treatment for their children, all provided free of cost. We have seen many children now living who were literally saved from death and the families were so happy.
Access to health care in India differs from the city and rural areas...
Those of us who live in the city have access to many hospitals and doctors who treat people well. In Orissa it is very hard for rural communities to access any health care and health beliefs are such that people do not understand how to keep in good health. Many families were coming to the Love the One clinic, and it was so great to see as previously many many children were dying from causes such as malaria and typhoid, chest infections and diarrhoea, and now they were surviving! We could share so many stories of how we saw children lying semi-conscious come back to full health again.
We also got to know the families well and enjoyed visiting them in their houses and putting on fun camps for them to come and play and be happy, despite their difficult circumstances. As I worked with Love the One I was always encouraged to share with the families about the medical treatment that the children needed, especially if the people did not understand and wanted to use black magic. We shared with the parents how valuable and precious their child’s life was and encouraged them to care for them.
I feel so encouraged to work with Love the One, because the founding doctors have left their jobs and come all the way from UK to come to India and are doing an awesome work in developing India’s rural health care that is currently lacking in so many areas. As an Indian I really respect their work and love being a part of it. Sadly at the moment we have had to move out of Orissa temporarily due to the dangerous security issues in the district we were working in. It was so sad for us all as we had to shut the clinic knowing that the children really needed the services provided there.
As Mother Teresa said "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
"If we are not prepared to go and help, why should we expect others to go?"
Yes I am fully aware that working in places such as Orissa can be dangerous for us, as it is for the villagers themselves living there. But as Indians we need to go and work in those kind of places. If we are not prepared to go and help, why should we expect others to go? Why should some people in India have access to all they need, and many others are born into poverty and die in need. Is it a mistake to born in a poor family? Who is going to answer these answerless questions?
Lets all be encouraged to spread the news about these poor children and be prepared to do what we can to help. We are so looking forward to being able to go back soon to Orissa, the state that we love!
Project Development Manager for Love the One