We have now moved from the Banyan Tree at Kulappada to the Special Therapy (special needs) centre in Kulathara. This brings many advantages. One of them is running water - a cold shower is luxury comapred to getting a bucket of water out of the well. And it gives a level of protection for Tom - as it is a special needs school, any visitors can be stopped, and Tom can decide whether to meet them or not. Unfortunately there are some people who are adept at putting psychological pressure onto Tom, something that he is not able to cope with these days. Sadly, there are a couple of Pentecostal pastors who head that list. At Kulappada he is out on his own; here at Kalathara he is safe.
One disadvatage is that Kalathara has no internet connection. So I am typing this from an intenet cafe in Nedumangad whilst the others have gone off to do some shopping. Not shopping for themselves, you understand, but shopping for equipment that will help the disabled children at the Special Therapy centre.
But to return to the subject of this update. Take buying a cow, for instance. I am unwilling to just hand over the money. There are too many things that could go wrong. So I will do it myself.
Prasanna is a poor man who we have helped over the last couple of years. He has a compound fracture of his leg. Whilst he was in hospital Shibu looked after him, and we paid for the implants needed to pin the fracture. We bought him a Zimmer frame so that he could have a degree of mobility, and leave the hospital. I have seen the x-rays of the fracture. and I would be amazed if he is ever able to walk again. The result is that the family - him, his wife, and two sons, have lost their breadwinner and are reduced to destitution. But there is one bright spot: his wife is able bodied, fit and knows how to look after a cow.
Stortrum is a greeting used by many Christians in Kerala. It roughly translates as "Hallelujah". It is one of the few Malayalam words that I know.
Another word that I have picked up is "praktika" which means "prayer". Not a very useful word, you might think. But if you do think that, you would be wrong: prayer is an integral part of daily life here in India, far more than in the UK. I have prayed for more people in the last four days here than in the whole of last year in the UK. Everyone wants prayer - Christian, Hindu, Muslim or any of the other religions all appreciate it, and indeed ask for it. In church, in houses, in the restaurant, on the street, wherever we happen to be. India is a great place to be.
We have just had a great visit to Thanal house, our home for destitute women. They have completely transformed their dining area - it is now a bright and airy hall with a nice tiled floor that should be easy to keep clean. Outside was a great pile of tiles for the rest area - the next project, just waiting for the funds for cement and glue to fix the tiles. Originally the money for the tiles was given to Salini to start building a home for her and her family; but they asked the donor if they could buy tiles for the women they look after instead. We were impressed.
The annual HHI visit to India is under way. I (Edmund) arrived Thursday morning, and Iain will join me tomorrow (Saturday). I was greeted at the airport by Tom and Philip, and Sebastian who is a volunteer with the Banyan Tree for a year - he is an Indian who was brought up in the USA but has gone back to his roots. A graduate in business studies, he is making a great contribution to the work of the Banyan Tree.
From there we went to see Shibu in the hospital. Shibu is now looking after some 11 patients (a normal bystander looks after just one) - all aged about 60, all brought in unconscious and without adequate identification ("unknowns"), and all victims of traffic accidents. Most are incontinent. Shibu seems to thrive on the pressure and the work. Tomorrow we are hoping to get three of them discharged and we will take them to the Bethany brothers who will nurse them back to full health. Otherwise they may be kept in hospital, in pretty awful conditions, for up to three months. It is only your generosity that makes all this possible. With such large numbers, budgets are being exceeded, which is causing problems that we will need to address.
An encouraging story is of one of these patients. He had left home 28 years ago, and had had no contact with his family, who had given him up for dead. Shibu found a name and address amongst his possessions, which turned out to be his mother. She was delighted to be reunited with her long lost son and has come to look after him.
And outside we were able to meet Muniyanda, a former patient of Shibu who was returning for a check-up. He is making a good recovery, and is very grateful for what Shibu did for him.
It’s Good to Catch Up!!
No, we are not geographically challenged!
Tidings : July 2016. Do you remember reading this?
‘Moscow is a talented Zambian. He is also an albino. As well as all the health difficulties this leads to in a hot sunny climate, he has also had to face prejudice and antagonism from his local community. HHI was able to help him by supporting his education and training at Chainama College of Health Sciences. Now he is in charge of a Rural Health Centre in Mazabuka District and because of his position he is respected in his community. He is also married and has a child. He is an example of how determination combined with timely help from HHI can overcome disadvantage.’
Well, we have just received this very welcome email from Moscow. He writes…
‘I would like to thank HHI Zambia for the support they gave me and sponsorship through Jute Williams and Pat Cairn . I hope one day we will meet. I am now married with a daughter.’
The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus.
It's Saturday morning and I've managed the kidney medicines distribution alone, and without strain, so things are looking up. Shibu has just arrived so I'll get a few stories and then we go and send a couple of pictures.
Ajayan, 48, is from Changanoor (with Shibu, right leg bandaged). He was a heavy drinker, and, crossing the road, he was hit by a vehicle. He can't remember anything. Because of his addiction, his family won't have anything to do with him. He will need an operation [which HHI will probably need to pay for]. Shibu is doing all that is needed.
Mariyandi Marthandum - from Tamil Nadu (on bed with Shibu behind - left leg in plaster). Crossing the road, he was hit by car. Police brought him to the hospital. His leg has been set in plaster. An operation is not necessary. Shibu has been looking after him for 3 weeks. He will soon be discharged - but he has nowhere to go. We are searching for a place.
Thampi (Kerala) was walking beside the railway line and was hit by a train. Both legs were severed. Shibu has been looking after him for one month. Nobody has come.
Unknown (with oxygen mask. Shibu by bed). Only today, after two weeks, has he regained a little consciousness. He is feeding by rice tube. We don't know anything about him. Yesterday our church prayed for him, at Shibu's especial request, and Shibu is so happy that today he is rather better.
May we of the Management and Trustees Committees wish all our loyal and faithful supporters a very happy and joyful Christmas, as we remember our Saviour's birth; and also a very peaceful and prosperous New Year, and ask for your continued support as we move into 2018 and beyond.
For many years our supporters have been aware of Bibian’s condition, generously supported her treatments and ask regularly for updates about her situation.
We have received this report from Jonah Sialuman Coordinator - Charitable Works and Disability Affairs :
‘On 31st October, 2017, Jonah, Carole, Tabo Maheritona and Dr Nkonjera visited Bibian. Dr Nkonjera confirmed that Bibian is suffering from elephantiasis caused by lymph hefilariasis which is due to an infection with nematodes (round worms). They are thread like parasite worms. It is a disease which is characterised by thickening skin and body infections. At this stage Bibian is in a chronic state and is experiencing the following:
1. Tumours (uncontrolled growth)
2. Water inside the affected leg.
3. Infection of the urinary tract area
4. Dry Cough
5. Difficulty breathing
6. Eye infection
7. Wounds around the nose
8. Loss of appetite
9. Enlargement of liver
The following services needs to be carried out urgently
1. Small operation under the foot to remove infections
2. Removing the debris around the foot
3. Treating of the facial wounds
The following are required: creams to use for medication to prevent the spread of infections, anti-fungal and anti-bacteria creams.
The lack of proper facilities and essential sanitary items for older girls meant that they regularly missed days in school and this fact struck a chord with many - hence the very positive response to our ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management’ initiative.
The initiative was very enthusiastically supported by many loyal individuals, small groups and also larger Churches such as Mount Pleasant in Ebbw Vale and St Augustine’s in Rhymney Cardiff. They provided the essential items necessary for the preparation of the packs to be distributed to the girls in schools, both mainstream and special needs, in and around Monze, Zambia.
Primeldah and Alasdair, the sewing and knitting department ladies, were delighted to receive the materials and eager to put the packs together, but, more than that, they understood the necessity of the project and were keen to visit schools and talk to the girls about menstrual hygiene management.
We have received photos of the ladies talking to the older girls in Muumba school, Monze, and they will soon be travelling to Naanga Special Needs school where the children board. The headteachers at both schools are keen to improve the attendance of girls and welcomed the initiative.
On behalf of everyone at HHI and HHZ, Primeldah and Alasdair - who now have a new and exciting aspect to their work – and especially the girls whose chances of a better education have increased, may we say a huge ‘Thank you’!
Philip Mathew has sent us a report on the special needs centre that he oversees at Kalathara, a village near to Kulappada.
With a regular staff of 7 (two teachers, two therapists and 3 other
supporting staff), we instruct on a daily basis about 10 (of 18
registered) special needs kids plus about 8 therapy-only kids that
arrive on designated days. We currently have to use two vehicles to
pick up kids from 7 neighboring towns to attend our school. The
school’s focus is to teach these forgotten kids some basic academics
along with self-maintenance and life skills in a hands-on interactive
environment. With an additional teacher and more publicity, we are
hoping we can double our daily attendance.