Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cindy Lou Who

I love my work!

Lately I have been assisting the Doctor with small surgeries and dressings, etc. and today our last patient was a little baby girl who was no more than Two.

(I will call her: Cindy Lou Who)

Now Little Cindy Lou Who had a few abscess on the back of her head, and she was not happy with the treatment we had to do.
First Dr. Joan soaked the abscess in warm water and gauze bandages for an hour or two.
Just enough till they were soft and easy to cut through.
During wich time I held Cindy Lou Who, and didn't let her know what we were about to do.
We ate bananas and Chai and played a bit too.
Then came the time for the operation, but because Cindy Lou was so small Dr. Joan asked me to hold Cindy Lou Who in a big hug over my shoulder while Dr. did what she had to do.
The next obstical we fought through was the swaddling cloth that Cindy Lou wore!
Every time we took off one layer, to get rid of a collar in the way, we found more and more!
Finally we had Cindy Lou Who as she was on the day she was born, not a stitch left anywhere.
Then I held her over my shoulder and she was happy there.
But what happened next was no fun for her at all,
Dr. swabbed her litlle head with Iodine and told me not to let her move a bit!
Then the razor blade went "slit, slit, slit".
Por Cindy Lou who cried and cried and you know what she decided to do?
She pooed and pooed
all over
You know Who!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pictures from Christmas!

A father and 2 daughters inside Prem Dan, waiting for balloon poodles!

Balloon poodles for Christmas! Hooray!

The slum children who live in trash huts outside of Prem Dan.

Me trying to exit Prem dan with one little poodle left to give.

The lucky boy who got the poodle running as fast as he can away from the others.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I love you all.

The Oot

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The first pictures from Calcutta / Kolkata

First, please allow me to explain why I am not going to be posting any photos of sick or dying people that the Missionaries and volunteers care for.

They do not need pity, they need love, and if I post photos of them you will feel sorry for them. There is more to it than just that, I would also like to address the fact that they must be treated with dignity, and that if we the volunteers act as tourists towards them and take photos of them at their worst, then we are less able to prove to them that we respect them and that they deserve to be treated by everyone as every human deserves to be treated. (Bother that didn't come out right.)

We are trying to affirm the Dignity that belongs to every person.

Also, the MC's ask that we only take photos on our last day of volunteering, so even if I wante dto take a picure or two of some of my patient/friends I would have to ask special permission. And as I am not trying to be special I will not ask.

So, I will show you pictures of the fun stuff or interesting stiff on the streets etc.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why Noah!? Why!?

Why didn't he throw the little lice couple off the boat?

Oh well, 10 months of killing critters in my hair is ok, it will help me to get into a more regular routine. Wash, rinse, comb, REPEAT.

In all seriousness though, I do give thanks to God that I went this long without having little insects living off of me, but I would have been even more grateful if I could have gone say...11 months instead of 1.

In other News:

I was I was kind of homesick today so I called home, with Skype, and talked for about an hour to Mom and Pop about some of my adventures, their winter struggles with getting enough firewood, and a new glow-plug for the stove. I also told them about how I think Jubilee, my little sister, should come and visit the Sisters here. I have only recently realized that they are ALL a bunch of Juby's! It's amazing, she would fit in just like a little peg. Of course since my family has no money, I suppose she will have to fund raise, that is if God does want her to come. Of course she will have to finish this school year before she comes, etc. but she could come in May and the weather would still be reasonable for a month... O I hope she can come!

I have been writing my Christmas and Thank you letters and although I had hoped that I would be able to send them before Christmas it seems that I will have to wait because the envelopes I need are still on their way to me. Thank you Mammy!

By the way I will not need any more sports bras to be mailed to me! Mom mailed me a bunch from home, and so did my best friend Mary. So, please let's not mention any 'under garments' again, mkay?

You know what I am realizing would be awesome to have mailed though? No, I don't suppose you all do, WELL I was thinking a board game or two would be wonderful! Something that all of us volunteers can do together to relax a bit. We have given this some thought and we like games that can be played by non-native english speakers as well as english speakers, so although I love games like Boggle and Scrabble, they simply won't do here. Instead games like RISK, and Monopoly wold do wonderfully. Risk would be hilarious for us because we are all from so many different countries alreday I bet we could start in all the continents of our birth... YES now that I think about it I am sure we could... Serena is from Australia, Toshi is from Japan, Hortense is from France, 'What's Her Name' from South Africa, Sr. Karina from Mexico, and me from the US! Perfect! He he he!!!! Just imagine kicking someone out of their own continent!

Well, I am out of time online now, because I spent so much on the phone, so I won't be able to edit this post and make it anymore coherent. I'm sorry. This will have to do for now!

Happy Gaudete Sunday Everyone!

Christmas is so close!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mother's Christmas Dream 1948

Scene I

The stage is set with a large gate written on the gate are the words: "Loreto Entally & St. Mary's School for Girls"

From behind the gate we hear faint shuffling of feet, muffled goodbyes, then a strong male voice saying: "Come be my Light!" and slowly, but without hesitance, the gate opens and one woman dressed in a white sari with blue borders steps out, alone, into the world.

+ Lights fade and spotlight shines only on the woman: Mother Teresa

Reading from Mother Teresa's journal tells us that the date is Dec. 19th, 1948 and that Mother has just returned from her stay with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, and is only stopping by the Loreto Convent to visit.

+Spotlight fades to OFF

Scene II

Lights fade to full and we see the Gate is removed and in it's place we see three doors, red, green, blue, and then a street scene unfolds.

Young woman, VERY obviously pregnant, and her husband in the middle of a crowd of Kolkata people busily going about everyday life. The couple is slowly going from door to door looking for a place that will welcome them. They are turned away by everyone. Everyone at door makes gestures of "What do I get if I let you in?'' and the couple show that they have no money in their bag again and again.

+Fruit seller calling unrecognizable phrases from upstage Right and shoe repairman sitting with broken sandles and a few tools on the cement slab upstage Left, 2 children chasing a rubber tire and starting from Down stage Left and returning the same way. Random people miling about haggling with fruit seller, shacking imaginary cow dung from shoe, woman yelling at a group of boys who run by and steal her bag...etc

Enter Mother Center stage Right. She is looking for something. Searching for a place to stay and money to feed her poor with. She knocks on the first door, she gestures towards a poor (wo)man who is coughing and aparently dying on the street. Man at door makes gesture of "What do I get if I help him/her?'' and Mother shows that she has nothing to pay him with. Man slams door.

+Light fades and we see all the street people are exiting the stage. Leaving, Mother and the pregnant couple till the end. Couple is preparing to leave and continue their search towards Exit stage Right.
Mother towards Exit stage Left. (They crossed in the crowd without reckognition or aknowledgement)

Narrator: Reads entry from Mothers journal dated Dec. 20th 1948 and that Mother spent all day looking for people who were willing to give her a place to stay so that she could better serve her beloved poor.

Scene III

Lights fade up and we see that we are in a convent of sorts Cucifix on wall, and sisters in habits milling about. Some are snickering in a corner and pointing at Mother in her Sari, but others are around Mother and seem to be encouraging & welcoming her and asking her to help them with their work. One sister takes mother Upstage Right to what seems to be a small room set aside for just Mother. Mother takes out a journal sits down and pretends to write in it.

Narrator: Reads Journal entry from Dec.
24th relating how she had been staying with the Little Sisters of the poor for a few days now and how grateful she was to have such kind souls around her on Christmas eve.

Mother goes to a small blanket on the floor and kneeling down says her prayers and then lays down as if to sleep.

+Light fades turns blue and "dream smoke" rolls onto stage from stage Left.

Scene IV

Mother is gone and we see 10 sisters instead all dressed in MC fashion, building a creche and singing: "O come O come Emmanuel" with help from Choir above.

+Door bell rings from Off stage+

Enter Stage Left: The Pregnant Couple asking for a place to stay.
The MC sisters imediately start smilling and welcoming them in and showing them the nice little Creche that they have been prepairing for them. Then the sisters help pregnant Mary into the Creche with pushing and pulling.

+Light fades on MC sisters as they begin to kneel around the creche and await the birth of the baby. Then we see spotlights directed towards Down Stage Right

Enter Stage Right 2 Shepheards carrying stuffed sheep and looking sleepy, very sleepy. Shepheards sit down as if to sleep and suddenly we hear from above the begining notes of "Angels we Have Heard on High" Shepheards start to look around as if they are scared!

Enter Stage Right 3 Angels singing the Gloria refrain from above song. The Angels point towards the creche as their last notes of Gloria subside and a great burst of light is seen coming ftrom behind the kneeling sisters and within the Creche! Suddenly the Gloria ends and all the lights on stage are alight and "O Come Let us Adore Him" Booms from the above choir and the Angels and Sisters join in.

Sisters slowly move to the side and we see that the Christ child has been born and is in Mary's arms. 3 Wisemen enter bearing gifts and kneel before Creche, shepheards do likewise.

+Down comes the tree from above and slowly off come the leaves, so that all the branches of the MC's are visible. As each leaf comes off a person, dressed as a member of that branch would dress, appears on stage and kneels down to worship Christ, until All branches are revealed and everyone is there worshiping.

+ Song Finishes and light fades to off.

Scene V

Steet in Kolkata with the crowd as busy as it was in scene II, Only difference is that in this scene the Christ child who is in his little bed alone on ther cement slab, (He has NOT been moved from teh previous scene though everything else has changed around Him), while the people pass him by and ignore Him.

Enter Mother stage Right: She is searching again but this time as if she hears something she follows the sound to the baby and picks Him up, + Spotlight shines on Mother holding baby Christ and gazing with LOve at Him, then with a big smile she looks out to the audiance and says "I have found Him!"

Narrator reads:
a few small things that Mother has said about finding Him in all the poor and destitute, the abandoned and hepless...

The End

This is the play that we wrote yesterday. Well, we talked it to life anyways, I suppose that this is really the first time it has been written. This is the play that the Volunteers will give to the Sisters on Christmas Eve this year. I will be one of the Gloria Angels and directing the Choir above. I pray that it will go well! Tell me what you all think!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas!

And I am annoyed at my inability to post the Youtube video with the music...

It is great you should all go look it up!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What I do here

I do everything! It's great. Though, I am not working at Shishu Bavin as Sr. Karina had initially asked me to do. I stayed there for 2 weeks, but 4 days of that I was sick and 4 other days I was pulled away for special things to do with the sisters, anyways I dreaded working there. I finally told Sr. Karina and she agreed that I could go and work in Prem Dan with my beloved manual labor instead, but since then she has, all but for 2 days, continued to pull me apart and give me special work with the sisters. It's so much fun!

Let me try to describe it for you. I go down for breakfast and Sr. comes over and says 'Avila! Will you stay here today, a sister is coming with work? She needs to make 1,000 big, brown, envelopes today!' I say 'Of course, Sr Karina, I love making envelopes.' So for the rest of the morning I sing Christmas songs with Sr. John Janice and trace, then cut envelopes from a large roll of thick brown paper. (I don't do the folding, Sr. and another volunteer do that.) The day after I ask Sr. Karina if I am supposed to stay and help finish the envelopes today. She says "You want to?" I say, "Of course" All that day I spend with newspapers spread under me as I play with a paintbrush, paste, and Sr. John Janice who tells me about her Mission House in Mexico. She is Indian, but she is stationed in Mexico... (By the way, Sr. Karina is from Mexico, but stationed here in Kolkata. I love how these things work out.) Sr. John Janice tells me how she was the first one on the All Saints Day Parade because all the Novices would dress as their Saint, and her saint is John the Baptist. Everyone knows that John the Baptist was supposed to prepare the way...etc. Now thinking about it, it sounds a little funny. I guess it works though!

Another day Sr. Karina will pull me aside and ask me to go with Sr. Michael and distribute Christmas presents and things at a "small" Christmas party for street girls. Only 100 girls in this party. Then I spend the day waltzing with children in a big court yard and blowing balloons to be twisted into crowns. Dividing the older from the younger and watching them race for the prizes of a new bright red comb!

I love it here.

Today is Thursday and it is Volunteer day OFF, but this morning at 7:40 SR, Karina CALLED! She actually called me on the phone in the Salvation army, from Mother House, and asked me if I would come and clean St. Mary's Church. (I felt so special. She needed me. He he he.) It's wonderful to be a work horse for the Lord! I make envelopes, wash windows, clothes, the floor...and Jesus is happy because someone else is then free to do the harder thing of carrying Him into the 'dark holes of the people'.

Blessed be His Name!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Food, Beer, and Cricket

That's hilarious! I clicked in the Title box and they offered my the option you see above. I could have changed it, but hey, why not talk about food, beer, and Cricket? They're worth a post.

Let's see Food first I guess.

Food is yucky for me I find myself getting sick once a week if I eat anywhere but at this little place called "Blue Sky" on Sudder Street. This is killing me though as I am quickly becoming tired with their menu, and exhausted in funds because of their prices. The servers are good fellows though, and so many of my acquaintances/volunteer friends go there that the company is always interesting when eating there. I am anxious to have a little kitchen of my own and the ability to buy ingredients and prepare food for myself and friends. HAPPILY I am able to report that this wish of mine is not too far away from becoming a reality as I have accepted the offer of a small apartment, which has a very small kitchen, at the price of 100 Rupees a night! My own bedroom, wardrobe, tiny bathroom with shower (cold water only) and toilet, and tiny kitchen with propane tank below shelf which hold my 2 burners! Hooray! It's only about 7 minutes walk from Mother House too, which means I can be lazier in the morning and wake up at 5:45 instead of at 5:25. Very happy about that too...

Oops, I digress form my predestined subjects: Food, Beer, and Cricket!


Beer, is beer, is beer, I don't care much about it though I have made a few observations about it. The alcohol content in the beer in India is extremely low! Amazingly low, but the serving size is huge, so whatever. I don't drink here, though I have paid for 2 beers, both "Kingfisher'' which states on the bottle that it is only sold in West Bengal. And subsequently makes me think that it truly must be the crappiest beer in (the world) India if they can't sell it anywhere but West Bengal! But hey it cost the equivalent of Fiddy-cents, and what do I care anyways I don't drink!


I know nothing of Cricket. It looks sorta like a diseased form of baseball. It has a flattened bat that is swung almost like a golf club, a pitcher that runs to the point where he throws the ball, stakes in the ground, and large rings which I am thoroughly confused about. Makes no sense to me whatsoever, and yet the Indians seem utterly addicted to it! Fiercely devoted to watching every game that comes on the TV, they hover like...ahhhheemmm... around a you know what, converging on the poor common room at Salvation Army and taking all the seats and TV time for their games. Yesterday my British roommate, Rachel, found herself being dragged along with a crowd of Indians to a Cricket match. Somehow she was overlooked at the ticketing gate and got inside for free, but when she didn't have a seat she was chased out by a guard. She did however walk away with two arm bands, with Indian colors and the words "I LOVE MY INDIA" blazoned across the white middle. Although it was obvious to me that they were arm bands, Rachel told me that the men were wearing them on their foreheads. Sometimes I am so mystified about this land of people that can build computers, but not a broom which allows their women to not have to stoop to sweep their floors, which creates great minds like Ghandi and pricks like the man who followed my French friend and I half way back from Mother house this evening saying, (forgive me Mom and Juby) saying: "I like p***y, I like to f*** good p****". It baffles me, it enrages me, it confuses and bewilders me. This country has NO COMMON SENSE.

That is why their FOOD is always too spicy, sweet, or acidic, their BEER is lacking alcohol, and they love their CRICKET.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Walk Back in the Footsteps of Mother

Went on a small pilgrimage today tracing back Mother Thersa's life in Calcutta before she was anyone that the world cared about. It was overwhelming to see so much and start to understand her a little better. All of the text below is copied from the little guide page I was given on the walk.

1. At Mothers Tomb

"I do it for Jesus, HE IS MY ALL. If He is MY ALL, then I must be able to talk to people about the person I love. Because I love Him I am here today. I do it for Jesus, for the greater glory of God and the good of people."

Clean Heart

"God Speaks in the silence of the heart...and we listen. And then...we speak to God from the fullness of our heart. First we listen...God speaks...and then we speak and God listens. And that connection is with God. A soul of prayer, the fruit of prayer is deepening of Faith, and the fruit of Faith is Love, and the fruit of Love is Service, and the fruit of Service is Peace. That is why we need to pray to have a clean heart...and if we havea clean heart we can see God. And when we can see God naturally we will begin to love one another. That means we see and we look, and then we give our hands to serve and our hearts to love... and that's the beginning of holiness."*

Extract of Mother Teresa's words in the movie "The Legacy"

I will copy more later on. For now, just think on that a bit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Love

I Love!

I Love.

I can only Love!

I saw a dead baby lying in a cot outside on the street.

My tears scream Love!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Wish List

Yes, I know it is early for Christmas, but it will take 2-3 weeks minimum for anything to reach me from the US anyways, so I have decided to write my list now! As I am more than certain that my immediate family will not be able to buy most of the things on my list and send them to me I openly invite anyone who reads this and wants to help to send along any of the items listed below. You are more than welcome to remain anonymous in your generosity, however, I would like there to be a running list of what is being sent to me so that I may update my list in order to not receive say 1000 pairs of gloves and no hand sanitizer. Ok? So simply leave a comment if you have mailed anything to Kolkata, and I will update my list!

The Missionaries of Charity
54A, A.J.C. Bose Road
KOLKATA 700 016


Plastic gloves medium size - as many as want to come! The volunteers and the sisters use them when treating the ill patients. (1Box coming from Missy, my old World Youth Day friend!)

Sports Bras (size 34)- I forgot all my bras in the US. Have pity on me! I really only need 2 more as I do have 1 on me. (O! the shame in asking for underwear online!)

Hand Sanitizer - I really can't tell you how much we all love the Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer over here. Why it Kills 99.99% of all Germs! Gotta love that! (Also coming from Missy)

Stationary with ENVELOPES - I have found some wonderfully cheap paper made by rehabilitated Street kids, but I can't find any good envelopes, and I have so many letters to send!

Peanut Butter - Good for all the bananas I do get and to replace all the protein I am not eating. (Also coming from Missy)

Floss - for a healthy smile!

Books - Brother Dave, this is your department.

A Hairbrush - I don't have one, and I can't find any good ones here.


That is all I can think of off the top of my head, but I will probably add more later.

In the immortal words of my first Indian influence, Abu:


Saturday, November 24, 2007

I was not naked!

I'm sorry everyone for the long silence I have been sick since Wednesday afternoon, and have stayed in my bed for most of the time since then. All Thursday I was week and my head hurt and then in the evening I thought I felt a little better so I went with a few Frenchies and got some food. Which proceeded to exit my body in all directions and ways that were unpleasant throughout that evening. My throat being very sore from so much vomit I was unable to drink even water for about 15 hours. Not that I was even able to hold water when I forced myself to drink for fear of dehydration. Nope, it was amazing how it just went right through me. It was like pouring it down a drain! Sickest feeling I ever felt. I sucked salt off of some nuts and forced a banana into my stomach on Friday and haven't vomited since, though the other exit was still a problem till I took some Imodium. I felt much better this morning and so I wobbled myself to the Internet to call home and Fella, and update emails and blog. Which is where you find me now!

Now, where did I leave off... Ah, yes my perfect day!


On Monday I woke as usual at about 5:25, dressed and walked to Mother House for Mass. Mass was beautiful as it always is, and afterwards I again spent a little time with Mary and my Rosary and Green scapular intentions as I had the day before, then proceeded down to Chai and bread. It was while I was eating my bread that Sr. Karina came to me and asked if I would like to do something "special" that day. She wanted only 3 volunteers to help with a distribution project the Sisters were doing in a suburb. She asked if my fellow teacher, who was sitting next to me would mind if I went with the Sisters for the day and not to my class, and of course it was ok with her. So, I got to join 2 other volunteers and 2 sisters and 2 novice's in a MC ambulance filled with several 200 lbs bags of rice, sugar, and dal, boxes filled with large jugs of oil, boxes with bars of soap, bags filled with new clean towels, and off we went to the sisters in the suburb! It was about 8:30am when we reached our destination a serene little convent type place surrounded by walls and housing dozens of mentally disabled women who were most all abandoned by their husbands and thus went mad. (This is what I was told and so I believe it, though I suspect that many of the women were probably already a bit mad before their husbands left them.)

When we arrived we started to all work together to tug at and drag the large bags of food into the pavilion and through the garage doors. (Think LARGE shed, or medium airplane hanger, type building) We unloaded the ambulance and then set to work dividing all the grain and other things into nice little bags and then into nice plastic buckets. Pretty buckets! All bright red, blue and green I estimate holding about 2.5 gallons. As the morning progressed we sang songs and talked about histories and events that were of interest. At about 11:30/12 when the last sugar was divided, and the lids placed as best as could be onto the buckets, the Sr. Incharge (whom I love!) told us that the people would be coming that afternoon at about 3 and that we could wait or we could go back to the city and continue with our days as normal. The other 2 volunteers left, but I stayed. O! the joy, I had the sisters all to myself! We ate a few biscuits and then we walked to the chapel where I joined the sisters in adoration and Holy hour until it was time for lunch with the other sisters who ran the villa/convent at which time the sisters I was with went to eat with 'native' sisters and I was shown a small room and table set with a beautiful lunch just prepared for me. I felt sad and special at the same time. I had wanted to eat with the sisters and the fact that I wasn't allowed made me sad. However, when I realized that I wasn't allowed to eat with them I also realized that one of 'my' sisters must have spoken with the 'native' sisters and asked them to prepare me a meal all for my own. It was very nice, I suspect that the sisters had a meaner meal than I had. After lunch I wandered in and out of the chapel a few times and back to the pavilion where I read a bit of the book I had brought, The Abolition of Man, until Sr. Incharge came and told me that the people would be arriving soon and that I was to keep them in order as best I could. She related a story about how last time the people came they climbed the trees and stole the sisters coconuts and that I was to stop them from doing that again! After a time there were about 100 people in the square Fr. A came and stole them all for a catechism lesson. During which time I sat with one of the Novice's outside and talked about her history and how she came to her enter the MC's. About her family living in Nepal and how none of them were/are Christian and the trouble she had when she told them she was and that she would become a sister in India. How her family ostracized her and she was cast out from them. She talked about how it was very hard to learn humility and about other girls who had come from far off places hoping that they were meant to be MC's but were too weak to handle the life.

They are so strong and humble these women!

She told me about how I could ask to do a ''come and see" and thus live, eat, pray and work side by side with the sisters for a month while I prayed and they prayed about my vocation and whether God wanted me to join them. I know that I can't do that until after Fella is gone and that when I do it, it will just be to confirm without a doubt that I am meant for married life and not for a habit and order. Which I feel very certain of, but this I want to do as a "just in case" scenario. So that I know without a doubt that I have offered myself to Him and that He doesn't want me to be His bride. Just in case...
after Fr. finished with them the sisters and I passed out buckets to the masses and then cleaned the shed, had tea, walked to the main road, and took 2 taxis back to Mother House while saying the Chaplet of Mercy.
Nothing of interest happened after that.

Now to Tuesday and my naked woman!

As usual on Tuesday I woke, dressed, and walked to 6am Mass at Mother House, only difference was that that morning I walked alone. My roommate had already left and I chose to walk a different way than we usually take. It was then that I saw the naked woman and broke. she had nothing. Absolutely nothing. No one can imagine the truth of this NOTHING that she had. I gave her my skirt and would have forgotten Mass but for another Frenchie friend of mine who was walking to Mass who pulled me from her and said that I should pray for her during Mass and ask sister if I could bring her to one of the MC's homes afterwards.

I did, I went to Mass, I prayed and cried, I couldn't sit with Mary I couldn't think of anything else, I went down stairs and couldn't find sister.. Internally I was freaking out. I had to go I had to help her I had to I had to do it NOW! I talked with my roommate who had left before me and she told me how she had seen the woman, had thought of giving her scarf, but had given nothing, and felt like death during Mass. We talked with another long term volunteer and ascertained that we were indeed allowed to bring the woman to Kalighat but that whether the sister would take her or not was unknown.

My roommate and I took her in a taxi. She was taken to the bathes where a Massi washed her and shaved her head, she was fed and examined for injury of body and when none were found we were told that after work was finished we were to take her back with us and leave her exactly where we had found her. The Sisters had no room for her, she wasn't about to die. I am not mad now, though at the time I felt betrayed. They clothed her well and we brought her back to where we had found her. I kissed her goodbye and walked away.

As an afternote to family who snickered at the mental image of me without a skirt you will all be happy to know that I was NOT naked after I gave my skirt to the woman on the street. I happen to have the weirdest sense of style which enables me to wear, quite happily I might add, layers of not matching clothing. Think Gypsy. So, when I gave my skirt I still had an entire outfit on.

A salwar kameez in fact.
(Long shirt as good as a dress with open slits on the side starting at the hips, and a pair of baggy pants underneath.)

Not as fancy as the one in the picture below, but you get the idea now.
Thus was I attired on last Tuesday: in a dark blue Salwar Kameez which I had layered with a warm French scarf and my long red and multi patterned skirt over the baggy pants but under the long shirt. I think it looked quite nice!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Best Two Days!

Grrrr! I wrote a whole days story here already, but for some technical reason it didn't publish yesterday. So, here goes round 2!

Sunday: It was awesome, a perfectly wonderful day! (I couldn't have asked for a better day to live in God's love, except for maybe Monday. Which was so beautiful that I am almost sad now because I can not imagine a more fruitful day in Kolkata, and I still have so long to stay.)

Woke up at about 5:30, dressed, and walked to Mass at Mother House with my roommates. Received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time in India! Hooray for His gift of Self in nourishment for our bodies and souls!!! After Mass I sat with the statue of Mary and said a decade of my rosary and took care of my Green scapular intentions. I then went down to the common room for my Chai and bread treat. When I saw father Abello I asked him about when confessions were and received the answer "Right now if you are ready!" He is great. I had confession and a got a gooooood bit of formational instucting, and was pleased as a pretty bird when my roommate came looking for me after she had noticed my absence from our small group of 'Frenchies' who were about to leave for Prem Dan. I felt so loved. (It's the little things that get me, like not being left behind, or being asked if I want to try a bite of a friends funny looking food.) When walking to Prem Dan we passed a man, quite literally dressed in filthy, and I would like to emphasizer that again, FILTHY rags, who was digging rice out of what seemed to be a mixture of vomit and street filth. I was broken. I hurried to teh nearest shop and bought him a big bit of fluffy white bread, and when I gave it to him he kissed at my feet. We arrived at Prem Dan a little late, but were still greeted amiabily by the Massi's with "Good morning Aunties!" and proceeded around the back to start on the wonderfully huge piles of laundry and tubs of wash water which would occupy us for the following 2 hours. As I was so happy I couldn't contain my whistle, but the problem is that when I whistle I often hum along, and when I hum I often start to sing the best lyrics, and when I start to sing... Well, I can't be stopped! I was so happy that my happiness even infected the other workers. (It is very contagious stuff we work with here in Kolkata!) As I sang I took requests from all the volunteers and gifted God and them with songs from My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The Phantom of the Opera, The White Album, Sargent Peppers, The Little Mermaid, Cat Stevens, Mama Cass, and the list of Gospel hymns... O! the Joy that was mine to be the radio for the morning!
After washing we had Chai and during Chai break I had a lengthy discussion with one "Lisa" who was not Christian but had so many questions that I dare not list them all here for lack of verity as I can't remember them all, there were so many.
After Chai we prepared to feed the women and I had my feet kissed and was called Buddha by one woman and huged so tightly by another that I felt so big inside that I might break again. After Prem Dan we took a motor rickshaw home to our beloved Salvation Army and I snooze till early evening. Nothing extraordinary and worth recounting happened after that.

On Monday though I had a perfect day. However, as I am again out of time for my internet session I will tell you about Monday tomorrow, and about today as well, for today was a somewhat depressing day but worth telling about. As a teaser for your attention tomorrow I will say this much: I gave my skirt to a naked skeletal woman lying on the street today and had my first experience of Nirmal Hriday, aka Kalighat.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The bad things about Calcutta

This post is not intended for pity's sake, but for informational purposes only. All feelings of pity which might incur within the readers of said post ought to be directed at the people of the city of Kolkata who live and endure the bad things, listed hereafter, during everyday of their lives. No pity is to be directed at the author. The author of the following post knows what fresh air tastes like and will rejoice in God's goodness when able to return to it, but the natural born inhabitants of the aforementioned polluted city have no knowledge of this beautiful way of breathing, nor have they the blessing of a physician to advise them in times of illness.

I am having a hard time breathing, and I choke on the pollution in the air here. Others say that they are having no problems it just smells a little bad, yet still others say that it was very bad for them at first as well and that you become adjusted to the level of pollutants in the air in about a month. I find this inability to breath fresh air my most distressing complaint. Volunteers say that it is like smoking two packs of non-filtered cigarettes a day. I think it much worse than that, and far less relaxing. Every time I blow my nose everything comes out black, not dark, but black. The back of my throat hurts and I get headaches frequently.

I have been having some bad dizzy spells and I read on my Mefloquine (anti-malaria pills) that it is a side affect. I don't like it. I have also noticed increased paranoid or "freaked out" feelings where I don't usually have them. Very weird, if I do say so myself, because a part of my brain will be going completely mad and stressing me out so much that I need to do yoga breathing to calm down, and another part of my head will be telling me that this is not a normal feeling and that I need to stop it. I am at odds with myself and I have decided that I don't care for drug induced feelings at all. I am unsure as to how I should go about contacting my doctor in WI as the time change between here and there is so drastic, but I feel I really should change my anti-malaria pills.

God is good and I am happy! Praise be to God for all the goodness, mercy, and love He showers on me and all those who love Him!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I visited the Lepers today

Just a quick note to say the Leper colony that the MS brothers oversee is absolutely wonderful! I went with 29 other volunteers to visit this morning after Mass. I'm out of time now, so I will write about that later. Pray for me a Cyclone is coming tonight to Kolkata...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Prem Dan for the day

I arrived to late for orientation yesterday, so I didn't have a place to work this morning! Benedict(a) the French girl suggested that after 6am mass this morning I let the sister at breakfast know that I wanted to work. It went well, seems there are actually quite a few people who miss orientation everyday, because the sisters walk around after breakfast with little clip-boards and day passes for the newbies so that those who want to can get to work right away. I got a morning pass for Prem Dan, it was wonderful. We washed clothes almost all morning then we had a chai break and after that we started to help the sisters feed and take care of the women in their care. Most of the women are no more than 85 lbs, and deformed in some small way. Twisted appendages, short arms, useless legs, etc. I got to help feed 2 women but neither was able to eat more than 2 Table spoons worth of food, though I had a whole plate to give.

I got extremely lost trying to get back to Mother House this evening to officially register, and in the end resorted to taking help from an extortionist, buying him biscuits at the price of 52. rupees for his baby daughter. I hardly believe that he has a daughter and feel very apprehensive about his meeting me at Mother House tomorrow morning with is daughter so that I can give him formula for her. Everything that I read at orientation tells me that he is probably a bad man, who will most likely "borrow" or BUY a child for the day in the hopes that I will buy him some expensive formula and then he will be able to sell it back to another street vendor and make a profit. I will pray very hard tonight, that my ignorance will not be the cause of a child's abuse. I'm scared, and feel very guilty.

Since I was so very lost I arrived about an hour late for orientation, and by effect missed it completely. I was handed a pamphlet to read by the guide/long term volunteer, and read it through alone. When I filled out my small slip of paper on it with name, address, passport no., etc and I put down that I would be staying for 11 months. When I handed it to the volunteer he was honestly shocked! There really aren't many long term volunteers. I asked for Prem Dan but was asked to teach the toddlers in Shishu Bavin (sp?). I am intimidated by the children, and I know I would be more comfortable with the manual labor and simple love that I could do at Prem Dan, but I didn't come here to feel confident, or to be able to give simple love. I will do what they ask, and God will make me grow big enough inside to handle it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Commencing Kolkata

The train trip was very nice, of course I will feel guilty for riding first class for the rest of my stay, but I was safe and happy the whole way! Anyways, I arrived about an hour ago and have settled into the dormitory at Salvation Army already. It has a very hard cot, but I am sure it will be good for my back. There are 5 other ladies in my room and I have already met one of them, she is French and a volunteer for the last 2 months. I think we will get along well, she is going to take me to adoration tonight at 6pm. I'm glad I will be able to work on my French a bit while here. I am going to try and find a phone tonight, but no promises. I am feeling rather out of place, and wishing that I had arrived earlier or that it was a Wednesday already so I could go register with Sr. Karina. I will be happy to see Jesus tonight and I think I will feel better after we hang out a bit. Thank you all for your prayers, please keep them coming, I am here and now the hard part can start! Woohoo!!! Bring it world!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

India at last!

I arrived at the New Delhi airport on the 10th at 5am, after having lost an entire day to the "evening" of my flights. (Ask me about all that later...) My flights went well, fast enough, room enough, friendly enough, and food enough to make a happy Hava. I met a nice girl named Kris in the Amman airport. When she saw that I was reading my Lonely Planet Guide to India she approached me. We flew, and arrived together, took a taxi to a hotel together and have been rooming together and hanging out since. Yesterday, we roamed around Delhi all day, went to a nice little restaurant, and bought a couple Sawri Kamis (sp?) together. Sawri Kamis are like long shirts with big baggy pajama pants under and a long scarf which you drape over your shoulders. Very beautiful clothing. Today I booked a ticket on a train to Kolkata and am hoping to leave Delhi on that train at 5pm. Until then I will help Kris find a new hotel, as she won't be staying in this one without me, and I will probably spend a good few hours trying to find food and water enough for my journey and also feminIne things as I fourgot to bring them. Bother that. I am happy God is Good, I didn't find a Catholic Church to go to Mass at Yesterday, but I am more confident about finding them In Kolkata. Everybody pray for me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Be Love in Action

Dear Everyone,

As many of you already know, and some of you might not, I have been hoping to be a missionary in India for several years now. Well, this last April I sent a letter to the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, now known as Kolkata, India. (I also asked my father to send a small letter of recommendation, since he had previously worked with them as a young man.) I asked the Sisters if they would let me come for a year as a volunteer to work with them and serve the poor in any way that I could. They sent me a small letter back (of which I have attached a scanned copy below), welcoming me to come and “share in their humble works of love for the poorest of the poor”.

I was so happy when I got their letter! I grew up with stories and recounts -- from my father -- of the work of Love that Mother Teresa was doing there with the poor, the dying, and the destitute.

Today, though ten years after her death the sisters are continuing the work that Mother Teresa started. Living in the same conditions as the people they serve, daily going to the streets and bringing food to the starving, accepting all abandoned children as their own, and providing a place surrounded with love for those who have been neglected by even their own families and left in the ghettos to die. They serve lepers, help girls sold by their families escape forced prostitution, feed and shelter the “untouchables” who have no one else, and the list of their works of love goes on. I know that what they do would be impossible without the great love that they have for Jesus. These sisters know the true Love that Christ teaches us we should have for everyone, no matter their state in life. Even their smiles show love. I want to follow Christ’s example to love as they do.

Since receiving their letter of welcome I've done a lot of research about what will enable me to not only go and serve, but also retain my health while serving, and I am some what discouraged about the total cost for all of the vaccines I will need to get in order to stay healthy. (I've enclosed a list with their prices below.) After talking with several different health care providers, as well as the county nurse, I have found that there are many vaccines I can afford, and some, which I will need, but will not be able to afford.

Additionally, I have also researched travel costs, and although they are expensive as well, around $2000 round trip to Kolkata, I am still hopeful that I will be able to save enough so that I can buy a ticket that will take me there this November. (UPDATE!!! 9/20/2007 Nick Korn is donating tickets from Chicago to Delhi and back!!! I will be leaving 11/9/2007!!!) Originally I had asked the sisters about my coming in October, but as I have only just started getting my necessary vaccinations, and some of them must be done is stages, I will have to wait a bit longer. My father, who is familiar with life in West Bengal, thinks it is best for me if I get there and become adjusted before Monsoon season arrives.

I have been working very hard and saving all that I can, but I am unable to save enough for both the vaccinations and also the cost of my travel and living abroad for a year. Living there for a year will only cost about $3,500, but when adding this to all the other costs it becomes another monetary burden.

My family is helping me with their prayers, and a place to live rent-free while I save money for the trip. My parish, St. Bridget’s, which is small, will be helping me mostly with spiritual support. I have written to the Mission office of my Diocese but have not yet received a reply. (UPDATE!! 9/16/07 The Missions Office has agreed to fund my vaccinations!) I know that if I could find only 20 people that could donate $30 dollars each that I could not only go to India and serve Christ and the poor with love and my own hands, but also have enough to give to the poor to better help in serving their bodily needs.

Since I am not better than Mother Teresa, and she could ask help from others, then I will learn from her humility and do the same. I am begging for this help. Please, help me. I simply can’t do all of this by myself, though I have been trying. I've learned that this is not just my mission but a part of the mission that every person is called to. Feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, and love each other. We all must do this in the way that we are best able. So, if you are able to help me help others, please do. I promise that all the donation money I receive will be used only for the necessities I encounter and that all of any remaining donations will be given directly to the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity. Anything that you give will be used only for good. So please, be love in action.

I am so grateful for this opportunity and for all of you who will help me make it a reality. Thank you. Thank you for your time, and I ask that even if you can help me with nothing else, remember the poorest of the poor in your prayers.

With Love,

Havilah Krump

N25237 County Rd. D
Ettrick, WI 54627
(608) 525-6011

P.S. I put a "Donate" button in my right side bar. Hope that helps some.

Letter from Sister Karina MC, Volunteers Coordinator for the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.


List of Vaccinations required for missionaries/relief workers in West Bengal region of India:

Tetanus-diphtheria: One time shot good for 10 years. Cost $5.

Malaria Pills: 48 pills. Cost $521.49 BUT I WILL NEED MORE!!!

Hepatitis B: Two shots. Cost $60.

Typhoid: 4 pills. Cost $69.99

Polio Booster: One time shot. Cost $5.

Japanese Encephalitis: Series of three shots. Cost $520.50

Obligatory Doctors visit: One visit before I am allowed to get exotic vaccinations and in order to get prescription for Malaria pills. Cost $170.90

Obligatory Nurses visits: Three visits in which I will be getting the shots: Cost $59.40.

Total: $1412.28

To be paid by LaCrosse Diocese Missions Office! Thank you Fr. Scheckel!!!


Detailed list of expenses for year long mission trip to India

Visa: $118

Bus from LaCrosse WI to Chicago, IL: $65.00

Metro in Chicago from station to airport: $10

Trains from Delhi to Calcutta and back: $120

Flights from O'Hare airport to Delhi and back: $1,600

Living expenses: Food, shelter, obligatory Indian woman’s styled clothing $3,200

Vaccinations: $1,412

Total: $6,525

(-) Vaccinations. To be paid by the Diocese of LaCrosse

Total: $5,113

(-) Flights. To be provided by Nick Korn

Total: $3,513

Other information:

$1.00 = 39.49 Rupees

Living accommodations in dormitory at Monica House will cost: 350. Rupees a night 115,500 Rupees for my entire stay which equals; $2,924.80 dollars.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Grandpa Krump

Some called him Al while others called him Ed. He answered to both, and always gave the speaker his full attention and sincerity.

Today I attended his memorial service. The family had been waiting for the last month while my 8 aunts and uncles tried to make sure that there was a weekend we could ALL get together. So, today it actually happened.

Grandpa I love you and I miss you.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Plea for prayers

I need help.

Please, do what you can, pray.


The School that I am about to be kicked out of for lack of finances.