Well, we have been back from Varanasi for a week now and time has flown by. This week the kids started 'school' as there are no english speaking schools nearby they are eligible for the NSW Department of Educations Distance Education Program. So Sam is enrolled in Queanbeyane High and Hunter is enrolled in Sydney Distance Eductaion Primary School. SEDPS has an amazing setup. Unlike Sam's school it is purely distance ed. All the teachers are together in one room creating individualised lessons for each of their students. Hunter's lessons are mailed to us on a USB with all the associated paperwork and books. She can even request library books... we have placed an order as she is devouring books at the moment and although books are cheap here its costing a small fortune.
Sam's programme is a mix between textbook work and online lessons. It seems a little more complicated than Hunter's but hopefully we will have it all worked out soon. I think it is suiting him though... not having other people around for him to distract, I imagine he will be far more productive.
So news of the ashram... patients are always coming and going and everyday we get to know them a little better. This week we have got to know Shzoon-Shzoon (Sunhil). Sunhil arrived at the ashram about 2 weeks ago. He came from one of the big Delhi hospitals. One night about 2 months ago Sunhil was out with his mates and had too much to drink. He was on a train with his friends and they where being silly by the open doors. While the train was stopped Sunhil leaned out the doorway and fell, his friend tried to catch him but he fell too. Unfortunately as they fell a train was approaching on the parallel track. Sunhil lost both his legs half way between the knees and ankles. His friend was less fortunate he was literaly sliced in half from head to toe. Sunhil was taken to hospital and had an opperation to close off the wounds of his severed legs. While in hospital patients are expected to have an attendant with them at all times... effectively acting as their nurse. Sunhil's uncle was sent to be his attendant but soon left, so the hospital asked if the ashram could take him to care for him until his wounds healed. He has been here now for 2 weeks and he is the most remarkable person. You would never guess he has only been without his legs for 2 months, he throws his stumps around as though he never had legs and he is always so happy and social. He seems to have taken this life changing incident so easily as though it was nothing more than a scratch on his knee.
As for his nick-name... Szhoon-szhoon that is the word used to describe the phantom pains he feels and it has kind of stuck as his nick-name. Szhhon-szhoon literally means ouch-ouch.
He is a very social guy, always chatting and interacting with patients and non-hindi speaking volunteers alike. He was sitting in the mandeer with Sam the other day and started gining Sam a massage... Sam said it was amazing. We have sinced discovered he is a hairdresser and massage therapist. Being such a social guy he is fairly keen to return to his old life, if he misses anything it is not his legs but his social life. His wounds are almost healed now so he is nearly ready to leave... but he does have the option of being fitted for prosthetic legs, which means he will have to stay for a few more months.
One quick note on amputations....we have quite a few amputees passing through the ashram... In fact just the other week we took one of our patients to the small hospital in the local village and he came back the same day with half his leg gone. I am thinking amputations are not outpatient/day surgery in Australia
A few days latter...
We have had all sorts of drama with the internet lately, thats why all my posts are merging into one. Seriously, if you ever have been frustrated with Optus or Telstra you have never been as frustrated as we have been with India's Reliance. Hopefully now we have ironed out all the problems... though I doubt it.
So what has been happening... well has been ridiculously hot again. It has been too long between monsoon rains. Thankfully there is quite a good breeze blowing today. For a while there I was having trouble sleeping I would literally be wake up 20 times a night having to rollover or find a dry patch on my pillow. I would make myself drink nearly a litre of water before bed but I would still wake up so dehydrated. Hunter and I are now sleeping without mosquito nets as it is so much cooler and we don't seem to be getting eaten.
Yesterday was Hunter's 10th birthday. She had a really nice day. She got the electronic version of the Game of Life which we were lucky enough to find at Khan market and season 1 of Hannah Montana. For her birthday we went to Splash, a kind of wet 'n' wild fun park. She had a really nice time... Though really not my thing with the crowds, loud music the crowds... I could go on it was quite an eye opener.
Back at the ashram we bought 30 kilos of Papaya to cut up and Hunter handed them out to the patients... Cake really wasn't an option.
Last night we started the move to our new apartment. We are housesitting/renting a place in North Delhi for the next 3 and a half months while the tenants are in Korea. It is the perfect option for us. It is only half an hour from the ashram and gives us the opportunity to try out the area before we commit to a long term lease. It is fully furnished which allows us time to slowly collect some furniture. Our address is Hudson Lane, Kingsway Camp.... not very Indian sounding.
So what's news with you?