The last few weeks for me have been insanely busy, so it came as a bit of a shock when I consulted my calendar and realized that I will be heading to India in less than 3 weeks! This realization fills me with equal parts excitement and anxiety. I know that I am going to have an amazing time and my life will be changed forever, but this is unlike any travelling I have done before...
Since I am entering the almost final countdown it’s time to make a list of what I still need to do. I’m finished being jabbed in the arm (opted against the rabies immunizations, if anyone was wondering...) and my fees have all been paid. Those are the big ticket items; now it’s on to the little things like figuring out what to pack. I don’t even know where to begin!!
I have also just found out the Community Partner I’ll be working with, which I’m super excited about. I’ve been placed at Anand Gram, which means ‘village of joy’. This institution started in 1964 by Dr. Indutai Patwardhan to reach out to the victims of leprosy. As I’m sure we all can imagine, leprosy has a huge social stigma and those affected often are feared and ostracised by their own family members. According to the information I’ve been given, all of Anand Gram’s residents are healthy and those that were affected have been cured. As leprosy declines, Anand Gram’s focus is shifting to the support of children who have been stigmatized unfairly for having a family member with the disease. Anand Gram runs a school and home for about 300 of these children, none of whom have leprosy.
Along with another participant, I will be working at the school teaching English classes and other things. I’m looking forward to putting my teaching qualifications to good use in a new situation.
If you want to find out more about Anand Gram, check out their website: http://www.anandgram.org/