Dr. Paul Edmonds
Somewhere in West Bengal, India
After two weeks here in India, I feel ready to add my bit to the other blogs. The students have pretty well given a sense of the overall mission and its successes. My observation of their interactions with the children of India has given me a deep appreciation of their commitment and hard work in preparation for their visit. Their parents should be proud of each one of them. You should also have a deep appreciation for the adult leaders, especially Rob and Jodie, for their ability to allow the students some flexibility yet softly guiding them in the right direction; sometimes like herding cats, but mostly the students have been exceptionally self directing, yet working as a team. I have watched them give much needed hugs and attention to the children. I know they all would like to bring some of them home to America.
Rob asked me to come over with him and Greg a week earlier to evaluate the hospital situation near Kulu, so a very pleasant week was spent in the cooler northern part of India before experiencing the heat, humidity and mosquitoes the of Calcutta. The trip of some 36 hours to Chamba was topped of with a climb in the dark to the trecker’s chalet some two kilometers up several switchbacks and rocky inclines. This was an interesting introduction to India for this Oklahoma flatlander. With a red lined pulse rate, I made it and enjoyed my first India meal topped off with honey and some flat bread like yummy flapjacks. While there we visited 5 or 6 schools and orphanages.
After 3 days in Chamba, climbing up and down the trail daily, or I should say nightly as it seems Rob thinks in terms of twelve plus hour work days, so we used flashlights to get up and down, we then took another twelve hour taxi ride to the Kulu area. The drive was into the Himalaya Mountains with a kaleidoscopic change of unbelievably beautiful vistas of terraced farming with snow capped mountains in the background. The 1000 feet drops off the side of the roads into the valleys and gorges added an exciting dimension to the long drive.
The hospital facility there is well built and beautiful by India standards. There is a 360 degree view of snowcapped mountains from the roof top. We met up with Nefi and James. The girl’s orphanage there is a model of how one should be run.
We then flew out of Kulu and met the big group in New Deli to fly to Calcutta, thus to West Bengal. We were met with unseasonably hot and humid weather. This was offset by the wonderful reception we received by the people of India and especially Nishta.
We now love Calcutta a lot,
We were told it was not very hot,
But when we got there,
We were met with hot air,
Conditioned air it was not!