5.02.2013

730 (Seven Hundred and Thirty) Days

Has it really been two years since I moved to India? It's interesting how sometimes you begin to measure time based on major life events as opposed to the calendar year, I wonder for how long I will reflect back on May 2nd as the day that everything changed.

My first three hundred and sixty five days were some of the most life altering I have ever experienced. They changed me so much that what was originally supposed to be a temporary six months here has clearly become so much more.

The very beginning of my second year here left me wordless as a group of pediatricians stood up and stepped into the slum for the first times in their life, giving free health check ups to all of our kids.


My emotional bond with the children in Lakhtokia grew and grew making me submit whole heartedly to the transformative love I was witnessing. 

I started spending more time getting to actually visit the inside of the homes of the ones I love. Each time we step into one of the homes I am humbled like never before.  


In June the amazing doctors at Wintrobe recognized and diagnosed one of the mothers with tuberculosis, despite that we found so much hope in that moment. She and I met each and every morning for medicine until she was declared free of tuberculosis. She will always remain one of my favorite women and her daughter steals every person's heart she comes across. 

The kids in the slum invited us to celebrate Eid with them in August, we felt welcomed and loved in a way we had not experienced before. 


In the fall I traveled to Silchar, India where Operation Smile created 99 new smiles, Mount Frere, South Africa for 34 new smiles and Cebu, Philippines for 180 smiles! What a busy season it was!





This year the government has razed the slum multiple times. I can't describe adequately how hard this is to see. It affects the children so much to have their tiny bit of stability literally knocked down in front of them. This action makes us stand by each other even closer and motivates us to help the kids and their families to find a way to break the cycle of poverty.


In late January I travelled with some of my coworkers to carry out a local mission at a tea estate hospital in Chabua, Assam, India and 73 new smiles later, it surprisingly ended up being my favorite mission I have been on (even though they are all incredible.)

In February Hannah started taking a handful of our girls to a local evening school. It has been a huge challenge and there is still so much to do in order to get them motivated to continue on and grow but it is the realization of so many dreams. One of our star girls, Khusitan, will actually be starting full time, regular school in the coming month!

My dad visited in March and we celebrated Holi together! Having him here to see and share everything was absolutely incredible. It passed by too quickly but I am so grateful for that time we had.


I most recently took a little vacation  to South Korea where I was able to step back and refresh my spirit. I spent a lot of time there finding peace, filling my belly and (temporarily) satisfying my never ending obsession with Asia. 


This past month Hannah, Rosie, Kelly and I have been working hard to incorporate Pratyasha Foundation and to apply for non-profit status! Of course, the work we actually do does not change at all but it means even more doors will be opening and that we can (and will) continue to grow. Getting to know the children we serve on a more personal level has been the biggest blessing of this year, motivating us all to give everything we have to continue to love on them. I anticipate a lot of very big and very positive changes in all of our lives. 

Over five thousand patients have received surgery in Guwahati at the surgical center since I moved here in May 2011. The total for Assam is nearing 9,000. We are so close to our goal of making Assam cleft free! The staff I work with has continued to grow professionally, becoming some of the most expert cleft care providers in the world and the patients... oh the patients! My heart explodes on a near daily basis thanks to these cuties! 


It has most certainly been quieter on this blog over the last 365 days. Not only have I been occupied with all of the above, but there have been a lot of challenges that I haven't shared on here. This year was extremely difficult emotionally and personally. I lost my grandmother, friends and the sense of family that I grew up knowing. When I visited home this past year things felt different, but that is life. It is fluid and ever changing; I think the last year was proof that life does not pause back home when I'm gone. No, things change, some for better some for worse. I guess that is where the shock comes in when you drop in and out of a place/sense of life you used to know so well. In North East India over the last 8 months, we have had major power supply problems, the internet availability and quality has also taken a dive. Skype doesn't work for me anymore but I have found other amazing applications like Viber that help keep me connected. (I highly recommend downloading Viber if you have family abroad.) It has been an emotional life saver over the past month. More times than ever I have found myself saying "India wins again!" But mostly, it has been quiet because there are just so many beautiful things happening here. Things that leave me too exhausted to type at the end of the day but beautiful things none the less. Here is to seven hundred and thirty days, and countless more to come. 

5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

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  2. it takes a very loving yet tough person to take the path you are taking! It is a beautiful adventure to see. :D Thank you for sharing it with us!

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    1. Thank you for following and giving your support!

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  3. Sounds like an incredible journey! You're doing amazing work :)

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