We're 4 days into a busy week!..
We arrived at Scad on Saturday evening after a 7 hour taxi drive over south India, seeing some great sights along the way (see pics).
On Sunday we explored the huge 250 acre campus and also rode around the local village on some bikes. Everybody stares at you in amazement.. With the occasional wave and 'Hi..how are you?!' being shouted out. If you say hi or wave first then they usually burst into a huge smile and return the gesture.
On Monday we were shown the huge campus. We visited the primary school (see previous blog entry); returning in the afternoon to see the nursing school.
I was introduced to an Indian version of tig / British bulldog that the kids were playing.
Tuesday morning we visited a gypsy village that has been set up by Scad. They used to be hunters, however as that is not illegal they make money selling beads. These people really do live in a tent with nothing. It is custom for children to marry at the age of 15 and there is a lot of inter-breeding that has resulted in a high rate of disabilities. The charity is trying to tempt them to remain in the village do they can have better healthcare; and by providing them with a fixed address they are able to get additional support for the government.. However apparently they will all just up and leave every now and again without warning. It is custom in the gypsy community for the dowry to be paid for by the men's family (the opposite to normal tradition).
We also visited the leper colony. Other visitors thought it was looking very improved however it had an erie feeling of a ghost village. It is seen as a curse here. People are outcast from society. The head of the village, who is severely debilitated, used to be a head engineer at a large company. I left the place feeling quite distressed.
Yesterday morning I went back to the school. I was there for the assembly before I sat in on a nursing lecture on maternal health. ...unfortunately it was in Tamil but they wrote in English! ..I had a chance to show the students some honey dressings I'd brought with me.
...today. I've been back at the school all morning! I gave a lecture on diabetes to the nurses which I think went down well! I also have been working with the physiotherapist on site. There are lots of cases of cerebral palsy here; a Belgium team has recently been over to perform some corrective surgery and the work is all about getting the children (who previously crawled) to be able to walk with a frame and crutches.
Plenty going on! Not sure of the quality of this writing but I'm doing it from my phone!
I've just stood on a huge millipede so I'm going to go wipe it off my foot!