Weddings, hospitals, elephants and lots of food!

Trip Start Jan 31, 2009
Trip End Jul 14, 2009

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Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm having an amazing time in Southern India, can't believe I'm nearly half way through my placement!
I made it to the wedding last Sunday (stomach finally likes India! = big relief!!) which was amazing!! The colours and music were incredible. After a ceremony in a temple we went to the house of the bride's father where lots of delicious food was provided. We were treated like VIPs which was very embarrassing at times, especially when we were made to eat at the table with the rest of the guests eating on the floor looking up at us!!! I found this really awkward, seeing as though the bride's mother was right by my feet!!! It was a great experience though and we were really grateful for being invited!
I love living with the Gomathinayams, the house is always busy and delicious food is always being produced! They have an organic farm (which we are hoping to visit next weekend) so all of the food they use at home is naturally produced and is so yummy!!
Last week I was at the Thangavinaygam Clinic on Mon, Tues and Weds which is run my 2 doctors (husband and wife). It is the busiest hospital I've ever seen! In the mornings they run clinics - like a GP surgery. These are crazy, a new patient is being seen every 2-3 mins and at one point the doctor was seeing 3 patients at once! Understandably the doctors are far to busy to be repeating things in English, especially seeing as though I have no medical knowledge to contribute back, so there is quite a lot of sitting around but when they do get the chance, it's great to be able to ask a few questions. On my first day I was told to follow the doctor to a room at the end of the corridor, which I soon found out was the labour room!! Twenty minutes later the doctor had delivered a healthy baby girl!!! It was an amazing experience to watch, fairly gross, but incredible!! I unfortunately had to sneak out and find a chair quite quickly afterwards when the room started spinning lol! I thought it would be a good idea not to end up on the floor on my first morning there!!!
Bron, (the volunteer who I'm living with) arrived on Wednesday afternoon. She's originally from New Zealand but has been living in England for over 10 years. She's really lovely and it is great fun being able to do the placements with her. We got the chance to watch a hysterectomy on Wednesday afternoon which was quite an experience!! The relaxed attitude of the surgeon made us laugh, especially when he took a phone call in the middle of surgery!!
On Thursday morning we went to a different hospital (Sri Kanna Hopsital) just outside Puliangudi. The doctor we are shadowing is amazing, always explains things to us and very keen to teach so I think we will learn lots from him!!
We sneaked off for the weekend on Friday morning to travel to Thekkady, a wildlife sanctuary in Kerala. It was an amazing place, so beautiful. We got the bus there and back, each journey costing us only just over a pound for 7 hours travelling!!! The final half an hour on the way there was fairly entertaining!! It was very steep, windy roads and the coach had quite a lot of difficulty with the corners, especially when meeting other big vehicles!!! On Friday evening we met lots of other volunteers (there were 37 projects abroad volunteers at the weekend trip!!) and had dinner altogether. It was really great to chat to everyone and to share lots of stories! I even met a girl called Pippa who believe it or not lived in Croxley Green until she was 10 years old! On Saturday morning we got up early to do a 3 hour jungle trek which was very cool!! We saw some pretty birds, monkeys, a massive squirrel and lots of cool plants. However another group had to run from a herd of elephants!!!! From their stories they were all quite terrified!!! One member of our group unfortunately fell right at the end of the trek and after having gone to the hospital later that evening found out she had broken her wrist, she was amazingly brave though! We then took a boat trip and saw 4 elephants which was really cool!! But then in the afternoon we actually got the chance to have a ride on an elephant which was really fun!!! We made our way back home on Sunday morning. On buses there is Indian music blaring out and after a VERY crowed 7 hour bus ride we were all tearing our hair out!!
This morning we have had a very interesting time Sri Kanna Hospital. The doctor is always willing to answer our questions when he can and together with the medical handbook we seem to be able to find answers to most! Today there was a young man in ITU who had poisoned himself (apparently very common in India) and is in quite a critical condition. The doctors and nurses here are just so dedicated and it was amazing to see them working altogether to try and stabilize the gentleman. Most members of staff work over 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week. One lady has only one day off a month!!!!
Really looking forward to spending more time in the hospital, getting to know the staff is great and we're finding out lots more about the Indian culture!
I hope all is well with everyone and you had a good half term...(think it was sometime recently!?).
Loads of love xxxxx
Slideshow Report as Spam


cherith on

Anna - how lovely to hear from you with all the marvelous descriptive writings of your adventure! You seem to be having the most interesting and enlightening time with weddings, births,scary coach journeys, elephants, to name but a few!!
Life at 29 is always interesting - at the moment - I am off work - poorly poorly and going to see the doc this am! Amy started her new placement over in Hazelmere last week and I think is just looking forward to getting this PGCE thing out of the way!
Julia is busy thinking about the great day! We popped across to Marlow last Saturday - running out of petrol on the M40 on the way - to look at THE dress - I had Amy with me - John and Julia in another car so came to our rescue with a can!! John not very amused as you can imagine!! Anyhow all fine when we saw the girl looking like a princess!!
Phoebe is now in a hospital only 25mins away from Paul and Laura and is gaining weight. She is doing well and Laura is feeling much more like a 'Mum' to her! She has even tried to feed her - I would imagine that could be a long slow process! Phoebe has had Laura's milk throughout which has been fab for her.
Rosie became 32 last Friday - can't believe I am the mother of a 32yr old!! They are all fine - still not sure about the future re Peter's work but we shall see!
Anna this is already far too long - hope you are still with it, but suffice it to say we all send loads of love to you. Keep safe and well!
Cherith xx

margeandfarge on

What a week!
How envious am I of curries, scenery, elephants and lots more! However, am delighted its all going so well and being such an amazing experience.I love the photo of you with the ele! Are you learning to cook like Granny too? You can try on our kitchen floor if it helps.
There seem to be a lot of volunteers there. Great for sharing experiences.
I have had a couple of manic weeks and looks like I have two more now. Its a different jungle over here!
lots of love
Farge xxx

gabriel29 on

Lovely to hear your news!
Goodness me, you are fitting so much in to your trip! The elephants sound fun, the medicine manic and the culture dazzling. It hardly seems worth mentioning the crocuses are out and the weather mild and spring-like. We are told, however that it is suddenly going to change tomorrow and we might have more snow. Life back at school is dragging a bit as it always seems to in the second half of the term, but my 'leisure' time has just got busier. Somehow I have ended up in a play with my sister and I am going to be writing the music for it. It's Cider with Rosie (the poet Laurie Lee's autobiography) and I think it's going to be fun, but it's not exactly in my comfort zone to be acting! I can always hide behind Damien. Anyway I'm taking up all your comment space. Loads of love. Glad you're happy x x x

avrilwhite on

Wow and more wow!!
Anna I have just read your latest blog and I am so envious!!! What an experience - you have done so much!! I can't believe that you have seen so much at the hospital - a birth, major surgery and an emergency! Amazing!! And then you have done all the other things too -weddings, elephants, trek to name a few!!! I am so pleased to hear that you also meeting so many other people who are doing similar things to you. I had been worried that you might be a bit lonely but there is no chance of that!!!
How I wish I had been able to do something like this when I was your age - all those years ago!! But not sure that I would have been as brave as you!!
I am so pleased that your tummy has settled down and that you are able to enjoy the amazing food - my mouth was watering at the thought of all that authentic indian food!! I hope that you are going to come back with lots of recipes - I expect an invitation to sample some!! I lived with an indian girl when I did my PGCE and learnt to cook from her! Still cook indian food most Sundays even make my own chipattis!! Maybe you will have to come round here and we can cook together - but maybe not on the floor!!!
Looking forward to the next instalment!! Take care!!

margeandfarge on

Fantastic adventures
Great to hear all your news and to see the lovely photos.Cold and wet here and Paul is cooking tuna and pasta bake!!! Are you coping with the lack of tuna?
Sounds like you have really settled there now and soaking up the experience. Off to choir tonight and then to Yorkshire at the weekend to celebrate Papa's bday.Oma sends her love and hpoes that you will receive her letter before you leave.
Have fun and love you lots xxxxxxx Marge

jimandnat on

weddings, wildlife and giving birth!
Well, it is so wonderful to catch up on what you have been getting up to - you sound as if you've settled right in to Indian life, and it seems as if you are sampling everything India has to offer - jungle trekking, delicious food, Indian weddings and learning lots at the hospital. Can't believe you got to watch a woman give birth! (not surprised you needed to find somewhere to sit down :-)). It's really nice having a group of other volunteers to experience it all with as well - we built up quite a friendship group in Borneo and now in Bali it seems quite empty without them.

So we're glad you are still having a fantastic time. Enjoy your last week or so in India and then on to Thailand.... how exciting. Looking forward to your next bulletin.

Lots of love Natalie and Jimmy xxxx

johnesther on

Wow, Anna - how absolutely amazing. You tell the story superbly! Child birth in just 20 minutes with no warning... rather you than me!!! Also, remind me to ask the surgeon to switch off his phone if I ever need intimate operations in India...

Love the piccies, especially the cooking on the floor. What an incredible picture. Have you tried tuna pasta bake with your family yet? Mine miss it!

We miss you loads. Thomas, completely unprompted, this evening jumped up on the kitchen side so he could see your itinery properly then asked in a weary voice 'HOW long is it until Anna gets home?' We're thinking of you lots...

All is well here - plenty of business for John, 10 schools & 12 employees for P'zazz, Katie has made friends which makes her lunchtimes much happier (although I'm not sure I approve of the new not-in-the-school-dictionary words they've taught her), Thomas is over the moon to have moved up onto lime green spot reading books & Georgia has been to 2 parties - need I say more?!!

So glad that you're enjoying your travels so much.

Lots & lots of love to you.

Esther & John xxx

mimdoughty on

hello from no 80
Hi Anna greetings from us all. we ve had great fun looking through all the photos and catching up on all your news.It sounds so amazing i wish i could be there.Just wait till us girls have a gap year!!!!!!!!watch out world.........Glad to hear you are feeling better and i ll try harder to send out a message or 2,sitting and writting is not my strong point.Iknow you will be over the moon to hear my beloved team is doing better and we are out of the drop zone and season tictets are cheaper this year for anyone else who would like to pop in at the Vic next season.Jas got an interview at Chelsea school of art(sadly not football club)on Tuesday so fingers crossed.Matt off to Madrid uni in Sept.(Again sadly not the team)I m sure that will all change by the time you cme home.We think of you often and wonder how you are doing.So keep safe continue to enjoy your travel and keep up the all the Doughty s xx

mimdoughty on

A big congratulations on shefield .A couple of great teams for you to support while you re there.

mimdoughty on

Like Viv not sure how to do the photo thing.Unlike Viv ill never be able to work it out with out help, and Jas tells me it s ok to write add ons as it s free it just makes me look a bit silly.Nothing new there then take care .Mimx

Ramesh on

Hey Anna, good to know that you had been to puliangudi-my native town. Hope you enjoyed..

good luck...

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