After the catch up report yesterday this one covers the three visiting Asha Kiran Ashram (AKA) over the mountains and into the eastern state Tamil Nadu. Tom joined the team so they could enjoy a few days with the children together. On Wednesday Philip also came for a short visit with staff from the Special Therapy Centre to see what they could learn or share with AKA. This part of any HHI trip to India is always a highlight and this year was no exception. Although all work and no play makes Edmund a happy man the other three did use their powers of persuasion (grumbling mainly) to include some down time, more of that later.
News and announcements
The team has not had access to the internet since last Friday night and in fact since then they have travelled over the Southern Gat Mountains into the next state to get online. The mobile signal was also too weak to use data access, they may just as well have been on the dark side of the moon!
Anyway, they have finally managed to submit a report covering the last few days. All is well and Carol has settled into the Indian way as if she was a seasoned traveller and experienced eater of hot food, even the breakfast has curry or spices. Saturday started much the same as other days, a string of people who come to ask for help, usually to meet a medical need. This morning a father came on behalf of his 14 year old son who needs expensive growth hormone treatment for three years; he is the size of a 7 year old. Saturday was a special day because it included some time with Shibu. He is a bystander for the ‘unknown’ people who have nobody to support them in hospital. No bystander, no admission. The team also had the opportunity to do just a little tourism too and to meet people with kidney problems.
Every month either Tom or Philip will meet the patients in the Indian Coffee House just over the road from the Trivandrum Medical College Hospital. This month’s session coincided with this visit. In the recent past the patients received medicines but that has become difficult so now HHI give them sufficient funds for either anti-rejection medicine or dialysis. There were others there too who needed help for other ailments. Some of the patients also ask for prayer so Edmund and Tom deal with the ‘business’ and Chris with Carol provided a prayer station. This session lasted about an hour and a half but the coffee shop serves tea so that makes everything better. Shibu joined the team and Tom and set off to the nearby café which also serves ice cream. Five sundaes, of different colours, sizes and flavours, all for five pounds (sorry no pound sign).
After a much needed sleep the team of three were refreshed and ready for a full day. All planned out - a morning at the Special Therapy Centre, some local visits and finishing off with a visit to another tuition group. After breakfast there was only a short wait for the first wave of children to arrive. Two vehicles are needed to shuttle all the children from home to the centre, some are able to walk in and others need to be carried. Twenty six children were present and after the 'roll call' and prayers they went to their classes. As one of the rooms normally used was now a temporary bedroom - one group had their class on the veranda. As well as education, the children have therapy to meet their needs. About six or seven had speech therapy and three had physio; the class on the veranda had occupational therapy, including spooning sand, in a sand tray, into small neat piles. Others were engaged in making umbrellas - Chris has ordered ten to bring home and sell to raise funds. Observing the physio sessions, Chris watched a young girl with cerebral palsy practice standing up from a prone position - a very difficult task for her. Speech therapy included identifying fruit off a card and repeating the name. One of the children picked up a bongo drum and then they all wanted a go, a lot of fun. Carol brought out some dresses made by her Soroptimist friends and gave out a few - photographs a plenty. Then it was time for lunch - wow the pickle was hot!
The Chris and Edmund team are visiting together again; after their recent trip to Zambia last October; they have teamed up to visit people and projects in Kerela, India for two weeks. The third one? Carol, Chris's sister. Carol is from Soroptimist International Coventry who have supported HHI in recent years; raising funds for our work at Thanal House. They arrived today and hit the ground running, well running after the long process getting through immigration. The first hurdle, how does one man who is the 'e-Visa facilitator' person process the pack of people who have just disembarked from a long tiring journey? Edmund said when he sees the word facilitator in India, it is time to worry! You guessed it, he didn't facilitate well and chaos ensued. So here's the thing, the facilitator checks before the immigration officer checks and processes one's visa, then his work is checked by another 'checker' and just when you thought you have made it, one more check before going through the gate. All in about 25 metres! Anyway they made it through and got straight into the business in hand.
As usual the three visiters were met by Tom, Philip and Shibu. As usual the car was not big enough for luggage, driver and six passengers. That was sorted out, the first call was to the local beach to stretch legs and take in fresh air. Not for long, they were soon amongst the busy town traffic. First stop, the Medical College hospital, where they saw Ward 9 where outcast patients from the main teaching hospital go for rehabilitation - 60% of the patients there are ones Shibu has cared for. Then they went to see Sindhu, a kidney patient on dyalisis we already help, but her health is failing. Edmund gave her some money and a prayer was said. The Senior Nurse took them to see Chinna Tampi, another kidney patient who was shivering because "it was cold." 30 degrees is cold to some. Again HH made a contribution towards his dialysis and another prayer followed.
Some news in from Pastor Santhosh at Asha Kiran Ashram.
Beulah’s determination to Dance on her own legs comes true during this Christmas & New Year program. She danced on her own Artificial Legs. This is a great success story on our ASHA KIRAN ASHRAM History. We thank God and you for this great achievement. Beula got 2nd Prize in the District level Music competition held on 3rd December, World Disabled Day. Our School got a shield for participating this programme. 10 of our students and 3 of our Staff attended this Meeting.
Congratulations to Beulah and all at AKA.
Christmas has come early for this severly disabled young woman who lives in the primitive community of Ntambo in Zambia. Due to the huge generosity of so many HHI supporters, she has received a number of wonderful gifts this year including clothes for her baby, nappies, Sudocream, antibacterial handwash, crutches, other help and support, and food - she is particularly partial to peanuts!
And this Christmas will find Priscilla Hatembo safe and comfortable in her brand new home which has recently been completed and freshly painted. Ithas space for her and her family - and it even has a ramp so as to make disabled access easier. It was just in time - the old family home, built of mud bricks and thatch, has completely collapsed in the recent rains.
She has also been given a new bed and mattress, sufficient blankets, and all manner of essentials including clothes for her infant son. Priscilla will also continue to receive money for food and supplies for the foreseeable future. What more could she possibly be grateful for?
Well, being Christmas, we mustn’t forget the baby…
Some people have been asking about our alternative catalogue. We sent out a copy in our latest Tidings - if you want another copy please see this link here. It's an ideal way of giving a gift for Christmas, birthday, and anniversary or any other special event without succumbing to the commercialisation of Christmas and other special events. As an added bonus, we will send you cards to give to the person whose anniversary or Christmas you are celebrating, which say how your gift will be used. And you can always use it to simply make a donation - you can specify how your gift will be used so as to help some of the world's most needy people.
It isn’t only at Christmas that our Alternative Gifts are available. Prices in our catalogue, which is available on our website, range from £5 to £700. It is possible to purchase a gift at any time for as little as £5, which will buy a mat, blanket and pillow for a destitute patient in India or provide stationery or school support for a child in Zambia. Also, for a cool £700 it is possible to meet the running costs of Asha Kiran Ashran, the special needs school we support in Southern India, for a month.
Over the years, many satisfied customers return to shop with us knowing that every penny is spent on providing support and comfort to those in very real need. Thank you.
Shop early this Christmas? Shop anytime!
We have worked with Pastor Wilson for a number of years on a variety of projects. He has written to us recently about some of them. A little bit of money goes a long way in India!
SUCCESS STORIES WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM HHI THROUGH BGM
We had a wonderful evening. We sang with ‘hwyl’, listened intently, prayed earnestly and dug a little deeper into our pockets to buy some of the goodies on sale. At times we chuckled while, at other times, some of us were moved to tears. We had full updates about progress in India and Zambia and tucked into refreshments donated by supporters. We watched a video of the Stra’ven Scouts building the Ntambo Hammermill, which included footage of the late Alistair Ogilvy, and which, incidentally, is where the young Priscilla and her new baby live. ( see article 29.10.18) In all, thanks to everyone, it was an inspiring night!
One message that came across clearly was that over the years, there have been many stories which illustrate the true ethos of HHI… where a need is identified, then that need needs to be addressed! Ron Prosser told us the story about how the hospital in Mpongwe was saved from closure… prayer and perseverance ensured that the hospital remained open and it is still flourishing. The ever busy Ron has written a book which details this amazing story. It’s a ‘must read’, a cool Christmas ‘stocking filler’ and an absolute snip at £8!
Thanal House is a home for destitute women which we have supported for many years. It is run by Salini, her mother Valsala, her husband Sanil, her cousin Kingenny; other people also help. Salini writes:
Loving greetings to you in the name of our Lord. Hope you and your family are fine. Here we all are fine by the grace of God. We have lot of news since your visit. We got some ladies and put tiles on the ladies resting area.
New admissions & their stories, since your visit January to this month.
February 4th 2018:-
We got a lady; her name is VENU (40 yrs)
03-02-18 at midnight she was wandering in the street. Public people inform to the police, some people were beat to her very much. Because public thought she came to stole the kids. Police took her in to the hospital. Doctor conformed that, the lady have psycho problem. That is why police took her into the Thanal.
Now she is taking psychiatric medicine. She is from Andra Pradesh (North India).