Renu's Week

Monday, August 01, 2011

Report of 2 August 2011

Hello from the Banyan -

Yeesh, it has been 2 weeks since i blogged and I have missed it.

The Banyan has been fine. I am trying to finish up some work before I head off. Classes have gone on very well, and it has been grand to teach the young women and watch them learn and grow.

There is a patient in the sick room, there with leptospirosis. She is of the highest caste, Brahmin, not that that matters a can of beans to me. It does to some. Her brother has apparently left her here and gone away, never to return, never to visit. She asks about him regularly, wanting to see him, and I asked the social worker if we could contact the family. He said she had "failed rehab," which means the family had been contacted but had refused to accept the patient back. I was stricken; what do I tell her now? I asked the social worker if we could at least suggest telephone contact to the family: this is an uphill battle, but let's give it a go.

If I could not see my family whenever I wanted, I would not be a happy camper.

Speaking of family, Navin and I did the rounds of relatives, seeking blessings before he leaves. Coorg was nice, and we saw beloved aunts and cousins. As I walked into my cousin Dhanu's house, there was the strong smell of jackfruit, which I had requested. Dhanu then cut a huge guava, and salted it; it was tasty. He is younger than I, but given to spoiling. We had a nice time there, saw other cousins and headed onto Mysore to see my mother's 3 sisters. We had lunch with them, and saw more cousins, then got on the very comfortable train to head back to Chennai.

We saw the finals of Naren's play competition, and their play won "Judges' choice - Best play." We were pleased. Scott headed off to Trivandrum, the boys and I spent a week by ourselves and then went to Patna, the capital of Bihar. We met our neighbor Pushkala's friend, Medha, there; Medha is doing some magnificent work in the prevention of trafficking of young women. (Bihar is on the route from Nepal.) I am certain that we will collaborate in the medical arena before too long, and look forward to it. Our very nice taxi driver there, Medha's contact, came with us to Bodhgaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment. The spectacular temple there is maintained with the help of several countries' governments, such as Japan. The sight of the giant Buddha statue was very soothing, and Navin too states that Buddhism is the religion that has made the most sense to him.

We are back now and counting down before we head off to the U.S. Navin spent a couple of days in Madurai with his grandfather, finishing up his medical checkup, etc. I spoke to my Dad yesterday and he said that the 2 of them sat in the doctor's waiting room in total silence; it was pretty funny. Our cook in Madurai, Ms. A, has had a baby girl; she called me yesterday with the news and all of us are delighted! Ms. A has had a very rough life; now that she is happily married and a mother, some normalcy is returning to that life. Hooray!

Unw -