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.