Later on in the day Robert managed to get a few medical items together for the boy we had met earlier who had quite a large burn on his hand. It was a few days old, but as it was so big, there was a chance of infection setting in. When we saw him, it had been left open so we brought some betadine to clean it out and purchased a tube of burns cream which will help heal the wound together with a selection of gauze, bandage and non-stick pads so the burn can be kept covered and clean.
As the boy's father was there, he was shown how to clean the wound, and what steps to take to apply the betadine, cream and to bandage the hand. We left four bandages and enough medicine for the next few days. Hopefully this simple cleaning and medicine ritual will increase the rate of healing and reduce the amount of scaring.
We will return in a few days for a checkup to make sure everything is ok.
A week has now passed since our first visit and we are glad to say the boys hand is looking much better. As you can see from the picture there is a slight scabbing left and all the infection has gone.
Sunday the 27th was going to be a fun day with three Indian helpers (Prithvi, Nikhil and Barkha) coming to help give out items in a few slums as well as do a dental check-up for the children as the two male helpers were both qualified dentists.
Bharka had brought a a car full to the brim with cakes, pastries, biscuits, drink, tooth paste and toothbrushes for the children. We added a large box of soap and two boxes of mosquito protection and as we arrived to the first area the children started running to us and it all seemed to be a good start. However, after five minutes, things changed. Robert went round the slum to round up the stragglers, and in the doorway of one of the huts was a young girl with swollen red eyes who was in distress, Robert asked if she was OK and was told that she someone had put chilli powder in her eyes, the girl was just 5 or 6 years old. I informed the dentists and asked the best course of action to reduce the pain and we all agreed that simply bathing with water seemed to be the best solution.
The mother of the girl was crouched down brushing her teeth while her daughter was crying and that's when we found out it was actually the mother who had put the chilli in her daughters eyes!!! We were really upset and in disbelief how a mother could be so heartless towards her daughter. Making a simple gesture of annoyance we took the container of water away from the mother which she was using to brush her teeth and borrowed a clean t-shirt off the line and used it to carefully and softly wash away the chilli powder from the child's eyes. The girl was still in quite a bit of pain and her eyes still swollen but after a few minutes of cleaning it seemed to be doing the trick. For the next 30 minutes she just clung to Robert.
After the dramatic start which was unexpected we continued talking to the children and then started the dental examinations. The two dentists were very good and checked the children one by one. As Robert's hands were full, Bharka took names and details of what needed to be done for each child.
After the examination we headed over to the car to give out the donations, the thought of cake and other goodies were enough of an incentive for the girl to be put down and queue up and we even managed to get a few smiles from her by the end of the day. Each child received a health pack and snacks and the visit was a great success.
There was still a good selection of things to give out so we headed to a second area. The second area is a little further away and not part of our core group of children we help but we still try and get there as much as we can.
Our helpers were a little worried about if they would be welcoming as we didn't know the area as well, but as soon as we arrived this worry vanished as the children came running, shouting out our names. We left the two dentists with a few parents to organise the children while we headed up the hill to tell the last few. It was great to see all the children gathered together in the shade listening to the dentists who were introducing themselves. While the check-ups were going on, we had another medical emergency, it wasn't so bad, but one of the boys who was around 9 years old had a bad burn covering the top of his hand and two fingers, it was on its way to healing but still looked really painful. We hadn't brought anything suitable to clean and cover it, the two local pharmacies we closed so a separate trip would be required later that day. There were a few more children here, but everything went smoothly. There were a few things left so on the way back we stopped off at one small place where the lads checked the children and gave out the remaining items.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Prithvi, Nikhil and Barkha for their help. It was a great day.
Volunteers Perspective by Barkha Sharda
Every once in a while you meet someone who makes you wonder what you've been doing with your life all these years! In the same way I met Rob. A friend suggested we should do something worthwhile to celebrate birthdays, something truly special so we planned this day as a surprise for another friend. Both of us looked online and finally found Rob who made our last Sunday most memorable.
As we were just stepping out of the vehicle children came running calling out to Rob. There was so much joy on their faces and so much love for Rob. The children were a little hesitant at first but soon opened up in Rob's presence. Prithvi and Nikhil did a great job doing a round of general check-ups of the children's teeth across four areas in and around Mapusa. There were approximately between 8 to 20 children across age groups and genders at all sites. The children were very warm.
We had an incredible time with the children that morning. Thank you Rob for such an amazing experience.
After being away for a month, we had to catch up on the supply of rice given to the children in education.
Just before the Ganesh holiday we ordered 250KG of rice for distribution. That’s quite a lot of rice when you take into account that the only transport we have is a motorbike, but we are not ones to shy away from a bit of manual lifting, it took several trips to and from the wholesaler to bring the rice to the storage room, and to add an extra bit of effort, the storage is up 2 floors (about 50 steps)! It’s a great way to get your heart beating!
The next few days were spent distributing the rice to the children, in between rain showers. The monsoon has been really quite low on the rainfall side this year, but there have been a few sharp showers during September, but thankfully we have managed to miss most of it on our journeys down to the slums. As I write this there is just 20Kg of rice left to give out. Along with the rice we have also been giving out the health packs and it was lovely to catch up with the children’s stories after being away for the month.
A big thank you goes out to Bryony who was a welcome visitor and helped yesterday carrying and giving out the rice to the children. Although I think her most memorable part of the day would be due to a different kind of kid; on visiting one of the families we were greeted by two baby goats living in the family’s room, they were very cute and one sat peacefully on Bryony’s lap for a good 20-30 minutes.
The Children Get Great Results In Their First Exams Of The New School Year
, Mapusa, Goa
It was such a nice surprise when we returned to Goa this month after a short break, to find that three of the students going into college this year were ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their respective classes in recent exams. The three students attend two different colleges and are doing different courses, but it is such a lovely thing to hear that they are doing so well in their new environments.
Actually the boy who came 2nd actually got the highest mark of all three. Hopefully this will continue as they progress. They have all been round for extra help with getting information for their course off the internet which is one of the small ways we help the children. Wikipedia is a wonderful resource, along with the great online courses supplied by khanacademy.org. You made us proud! :)
The last couple of weeks we have been very lucky to receive several bags of donated clothes to add to our collection. Clothes aren’t always the easiest thing to give out as you have to make sure the correct size is offered and then there’s the matter of taste. Something you think is particularly nice, might be viewed differently by the recipient! But there are normally a few items for everyone to choose from.
A couple of months ago we were given 5 or 6 bin bags full of clothes, and most were a little too large for the children, but that doesn’t stop them finding a good home. Several of the parents come to meet us and it’s always good to be able to offer them a few items from the collection. Anything inappropriate or too big is then donated to one of the animal charities who use them as toys/bedding. Nothing is ever wasted.
I would like to thank Delphine, Greg and family, Steve, Sarah and Friends and finally Victoria, Victoria gets a special mention as her donations were immaculate, perfectly laundered and folded, well they were beautifully folded until the kids got hold of them! If anyone wants to donate clothes then feel free to send a message through the website mentioning Charity Clothes Donations We are particularly interested in Churidar outfits for girls aged 18 years and below, many of the children we help are also very slim, so please keep that in mind.