Monday, July 05, 2010

Starfish Day

Yesterday I had a starfish day. I realised that over the last few months I have been so busy that my brain has been buzzing like a bee on acid. Add into the mix that I have been doing more physical exercise in the last 6m than I had done in the previous 6y and as a result I was exhausted. Jetlag, heat and humidity has rendered my body unable to function, so with a double whammy of no functioning brain or body, when I tried to make any decisions or do anything, I couldn't muster the energy. So the only decision I made was to be a starfish for the day. Firstly, I went to the pool and lay like a starfish in it or by it. Reading. Then I went out for lunch with Dr Rita and her daughter. I managed to resist the urge to lie like a startfish on the floor of the restaurant, but it did require some effort. Then I came home and lay like a starfish on my bed reading. Or knitting. Or, believe it or not doing tapestry. Or, lets not beat around the bush, sleeping.

Today however, the starfish awakes. This morning I had a stellar conversation with Dr Rita and we have nailed several issues and started to develop several more threads. The Elderly Porject formula is coming along nicely and we are beginning to develop an exportable model. RUHSA is the overseer and, with charitable funds, sponsors a local self help group to run an elderly centre, providing a couple of meals per week and snacks for the other days. In addition, they make a small porift and provide some recreational activities. Other charitable funds may enable RUHSA to buy a goat for each of the beneficiaries after they have been attending the centre for 6m at least. The beneficiary must give RUHSA their first female kid - if they fail to do this or the goat mysteriously disappears, they must refund the money. If the elderly wish to partake in other activities, like develping a garden or something, funds can usually be found to help start the work up, but it must be sustainable. There are now 4 centres running and the model is working well. There is considerable interest in running them from the SHGs because it gives them an income from a reliable source, in addition, in enables RUHSA to start these centres at a very low cost using local resources. It is interesting how the model has evolved over the last 4 years. I think it is about right now and the proof of the pudding is in the fact that 2 centres have been initiated by people other than me or RUHSA.

Today I went to lovely Keelalathur, although we almost didn't make it as the car had a flat battery and needed pushing. Mathew & I were sitting in the car chatting when there was a flurry of Tamil. A hoard of nursing students poured out of a lecture room and surrounded the car, but instead of going past it, we felt the car rocking as they pushed it. It jumped into action and off we spluttered waving merrily to the obliging students. We arrived at Keelalathur - my how bustling it was. There are 6 new participants owing to recent deaths (poor Sukkupattu) and the centre was full even though we arrived at 11.30. Previously when I have been, there have been only a few there. We spoke to some of the newcomers. One woman, who is blind has no-one at home to look after her. Her husband and son borrowed a large amount of money from a money lender and then, unable to pay it back, snuck away in the middle of the night leaving her alone. Being blind she finds it difficult to care for herself and is grateful to have a meal and company at the centre every day. Another new woman, has a son and daughter who live in the same village as her but they do not acknowledge her because she is simply a burden to them. The blind woman has another problem. Without a family, she has been unable to get to the eye clinic for much needed treatment. Now she is finally able to go as one of the other women at the centre also needs to go to the eye clinic and therefore they can go together. If all the centre does is reduce peoples isolation, then it is a good thing.


Sally Whittingham said...

I love that description. Can well imagine you splattered in a star, completely pooped, enjoying the pool! We've been doing similar in France lately. Have never been to the CMC pool. Glad you have had such good talks with the doc and that Keelalathur is doing well. As you say, if the centres only reduce isolation, that is sufficient isn't it.

Sally Whittingham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.