Renu's Week

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Report of 15 Dec '08

Hello from the Banyan -

Someone else needs the system that I am working on, so I must hurry. Quite a bit of my work is done on the computer, and I used to have the luxury of a machine to myself, but not anymore. :) This is the lot of us, at the B - but the work gets done, and those who have been battered and bruised heal, and their spirits rejuvenate, and these are good things.

The newspaper carried a story that 1 of the 2 girls rescued a few weeks ago was repeatedly raped by the watchman (security person) at the house where they were employed. This has ripped me up, as has the info that the impoverished parents had "sold" the girls to a female pimp. This is fairly routine in India and Nepal: a person known to the struggling family offers to pay them money to send the children to "work" or to "get educated" elsewhere, assures them that the kids would be well taken care of, etc., and then sells them into prostitution. I remain doubly grateful for the spirit of these 2 girls who came to us: ostensibly, they had tried to escape before, been caught and thrashed. This did not faze them, they tried again and succeeded!! Woo hoo! So they are now in an orphanage, and we hope the best possible decision is taken for them - this does not necessarily mean sending them back to their relatives, which is what both girls desperately want. The relatives might choose to send them for employment elsewhere.

I have now started to take public transport (our convenient electric train system) on a couple of days to the B. It is convenient and inexpensive, and the cab service turned out to be unreliable, so the switch was easy. Last week, as I returned from the B and climbed the steps of the Nungambakkam station, I noticed a vendor on the steps grabbing his chest. I had to get home before Navin did, and climbed another step, and looked back, and the man was still grabbing his chest. Ooooh, the dilemma - home in time, or stop and assist. I stopped, went back and took a brief history; the man said his chest hurt from coughing and he was couging up blood. He had gone to the Government Hospital, and they had given him "medicines." He was taking them regularly, he said, and that's a relief. I suspect the diagnosis is tuberculosis, as he looked classic TB (tuberculosis) - ish: gaunt, coughing, ill-appearing. So I wrote him a cough syrup for some relief, said I'd check on him this week, and then bought some safety pins from him as we needed some in the house. The man did not wish to take money for it, and I left, warmed by this thought. I had some trepidation that the man would be worse, or something, by today, but he seemed ok, and I'll check on him on my return today.

Our annual expedition to Little Theatre's Christmas pantomime happened over the weekend. LT stages this show and raises money for educating underprivileged children through college, a cause very dear to my heart. The beneficiaries come back and assist with the production, and are always introduced before the performance, bringing a tear to my eye. Also bringing a tear this year was the excellent performance of "It's a wonderful world," by one of the cast members; it is a wonderful world, isn't it, regardless of whether hate-filled youngsters kill others or not. The "dame" in the show was played by a male, and she came into the audience, caressed Scott's face and called Naren to dance with her; Naren obliged, as Navin shrank into his seat (terrified that he'd be called, too), and danced with rhythm and joy. It was fun. At the end of the show, as one of the cast members talked of the need to wear helmets, we applauded (apparently prematurely) and he said, "That was not the message, our American friends can't seem to understand my accent," and we laughed out loud. It was wonderful to be heckled, all for a good cause.

We went out to breakfast yesterday, and it was great to eat sausages, eggs and fruit. We also went to hear some Christmas music, the best part of the season for me.

May there be peace in your hearts and in the world. Unw -



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