228 eyes and ears
Seri, Tandi, Bahu, Jibhi, Hidav and Binni. A mantra of Himalayan villages and schools where I have met with over 80 women and examined 114 beautiful Indian school children ages 6-10. I have looked in 228 of the deepest brown eyes I’ve ever seen and listened to the literal “heartbeat of India” 114 times. My helpful YMAD Antar Bano team members Michael, Meghan, Mady E., Maddie P., Hannah, Hailey, Easton, and Taylor assisted with vision screening and organized the medical exam flow. I couldn’t have done it without them!!!! Thank you friends!!!
The children here seem to be healthy; who wouldn’t be when walking/hiking/climbing hillsides is your daily routine from the day you start ambulating. However, 90% of the children have decaying, rotting, or missing permanent teeth. When I asked the women’s groups about how many times their children brush their teeth, the answer was 1-2 times and I’m not sure if toothpaste is used. I am sure the water is not fluorinated! Cavities are accepted as part of life. Although we teach about teeth brushing, there are opportunities for improvement.
I have met with beautiful women of all ages in their villages, homes, and schools; they are gracious and welcoming. There is a sense of camaraderie and support within these communities. Since I am interested in the local medicinal treatments I ask about them, and I found myself tasting the local root for stomach complaints that the Tandi “herbalist” provided!
Be reassured that our team is healthy. While they miss home, they have done a fabulous job at “being present” and focusing on this experience of a lifetime. How grateful I am to be here with this amazing group of people (young and older!). Each one of them is a beautiful individual that I have the privilege to get to know and love and eat rice with!!!! And eat more rice …and some naan. Thank goodness the packing list included Nutella, peanut butter, and fry sauce!!!!!