Today I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I got plenty of sleep (which has been rare for me the past few days), but for some reason I woke up in a tiny funk. Part of my bad attitude was that I had planned to get up early and run the track this morning, but when I woke up it was pouring outside, and I didn't want to run in the rain (which thinking back, I should have just gone running anyway). I've been feeling so unhealthy here. I take for granted the abundance of anything and everything that is accessible and HEALTHY to eat in America, especially Trader Joes! I want their black beans and salsa so badly!! I crave protien like none other! There is plenty of food here, just not healthy options unless I just want to eat cucumbers, oranges, and apples all day long. Anyway, that being said, I had committed myself to start working out and doing my best to eat healthy while I am here, so I was majorly bummed out that my day started off the way it did. After I got ready for the day, 9 of us hopped in the van and drove to the Polambaakam Leprosy Colony. On the drive there, I was still not feeling happy. I was sitting there feeling kind of out of it, and sorry for myself (and maybe a little homesick). When we drove up to the colony, I was happy that it was a colony I had been to before, and I remembered a few of the people. We started setting up the different stations (bandage removal, foot washing, oiling, bandaging, eye drops, blood pressure, and glucose stations). I followed Amy, our Medical Coordinator around so I could get a refresher on where everything goes. In a few weeks all of my coordinators leave, and a new volunteer session begins...and I am on my own for that one, so wanted to make sure I know what I am doing. Amy is a rock star. She is very compassionate, and the people in the colonies love her. After just a few moments of being in the colony and interacting with the people, my attitude changed completely, and I was immediately humbled. The people in this colony have daily struggles worse than I could ever imagine living with. Some have absolutely no fingers, and somehow the women manage to dress themselves every day in a sari (I still have all of my fingers and cannot dress myself in one). Some have lost most of their feet and toes, some have lost an eye or both eyes. I was at the eye drop station this time, and had a man come up to me for his eye drops. He only had one eye. As he sat there I dropped 2 eye drops in his eye. He can't speak English but tried to tell me by pointing that he wanted more eye drops in his eye, and also in the socket where his other eye used to be. So I kept dropping eye drops in his eye and the absence of his other eye for a good 5 minutes. This broke my heart because I knew he just wanted to be soothed and I wanted to do whatever I could to make him feel more comfortable, even if it was for that 5 minutes. I am amazed at how every time I go out to the colonies I feel more blessed by the presence of these magnificent people that I feel like I am blessing them. Also, helping the leprosy afflicted in the colonies just reminds me of how far Rising Star has come since 7 years ago when it began, and how many BEAUTIFUL children now have a future because they are able to get out of the colonies, get away from the stigma of leprosy, and get a great education. Anyway, this was just a great day. We ended our day with going to a temple that was up a hill. It kind of reminded me of the Leonardo DiCaprio "Romeo and Juliet" movie from the nineties. Here are some pictures from my day out in Polambaakam.
Me putting eye drops in a patients eyes
This lady (I don't remember her name) is so hillarious! She loves to laugh and is always smiling. None of us understand a word she says, but she is so funny a sweet that we just communicate by laughter.
Amy washing the lady from the previous photo's feet. Amy has gone into the colonies almost every day this summer, and bonded with this woman on her visits.
This is the hill we had to walk up for the temple. It was a doozy, but at least I got my workout in for the day. We all were sweaty messes afterwards.
These bible scenes were on the path on the way up to the top of the hill. There were a ton of them and they reminded me a little of the "It's a Small World After All" ride at Disneyland, except that we definitely were not being transported in a boat, and there was no singing.