Thursday, April 28, 2016

L.V. Prasad Eye Institute--Hyderabad--Completed 6 Jun 2016

On April 18, 2016 we visited the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad

The reception area is cheery and inviting to young people.

Sam Balasundaram, Associate Director for Public Relations, took very good care of us.

The caricature in this picture is well known throughout India...his name is Chota Bheem.

Here, at the temporary sign that names the Child Sight Institute, is the head of the Department,
Elder and Sister Newton, Sam Balasundaram, and another staff person. This is where LDSC donated the eye care and testing equipment for the Cataract Surgery Program for Children.

Here are some of the children being examined in the Children's Eye Care Center.

The children wait to see the technician or doctor in a fun environment to reduce their anxiety...

and the anxiety of their parents.

Many of the patients here have more than eye problems. They recognize that, and provide physical therapy for the children as well as special training for parents of children with special needs.

The new Chemotherapy Unit opened recently as well.

The morning we arrived they had just dedicated the Ray of Sunshine area.

Each year, LVPEI harvests over 6,500 corneas.
This eye bank, unlike others in India, has no waiting list for people who need new corneas.
They have harvested over 54,000 corneas and have transplanted over 27,000 of them into needy patients who could not pay. 

We then traveled about an hour away to the LVPEI Institute of Optometry and Vision Sciences--a school for optometrists.

We also had the opportunity to meet and visit with the founder of the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in 1987--Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao, now Chair of the the Trustees.

Directly across the street from the optometry school is the LVPEI International Center for Advancement of Rural Eye Care and Eye Technician School.
LVPEI has trained over 18,200 eye care professionals from India and abroad.

We had a great experience learning about LVPEI and visiting with the doctors, staff and administrators.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wheel Chair Assessment and Distribution--Karimnagar, India--Completed 19 Apr 2016

On Tuesday, April 19, 2016 we traveled to Karimnagar--about 3 hours away from Hyderabad.

We joined a team from Motivation India on day two of a three-day wheelchair evaluation "camp" at a cricket stadium.

Each person is evaluated on their abilities--such as their hand grip and their upper body mobility to manipulate a wheelchair. This evaluation helps the Team decide which type of wheelchair is best suited for each person. In addition, each person is measured to ensure that the wheelchair they receive is properly fitted to their body.

People with all sorts of disabilities came from miles around to see if they could qualify for a wheelchair that will operate well in the rough terrain of India.

Over 70 Million people worldwide need wheel-chairs.

By mid-day it was apparent that the word had gotten out that this is the place for people to come to be evaluated for a potential wheelchair!

This young man was paralyzed several years ago from the chest down after he fell from a power pole following being accidentally electrocuted while repairing electrical transmission lines.

He had a positive outlook on life and was so very excited at the prospect of having a wheelchair that would help him move around his home and his city.

Motivation manufactures several types of wheelchairs.

The Team is concerned about the well-being of the people. This man had some severe pressure sores and was taken immediately to a hospital for treatment.

L to R: Nalini, Assistant Director of the Karimnagar District Disabled Welfare Department; Prasanth from Motivation India; Sister Newton and Elder Newton from LDSC; Shekar Alamury LDS Member; Johnson, Motivation Southern India Coordinator; a local volunteer.

On July 20, 2016 we traveled back to Karimnagar and helped distribute 280 wheelchairs to the people who had been evaluated, fitted and trained to use their new chairs.

Like teenagers with their first new car!

"I can't wait to go shoppin' in my new ride!"

Buddies getting the feel of their new-found freedom.

There was excitement in the air...

Smiles on faces...

"Me and my Dad can go places together!

What fun we are going to have!"

We had the opportunity to recognize the Honorable Finance Minister of Telangana State, Shri Eetela Rajender, with an LDSC Crystal for his support.

We had a great experience. Our hearts were full...

Our eyes were wet...

We love to see people with new-found hope and joy in life.

A Visit to Kutch--14 Apr 2016

Cuda' got use to that!
On 14 April we flew to Mumbai (Old Bombay) to meet Dr. Richard Clark and his wife. 

We stayed at  the VERY nice JW Marriott hotel. Our trips to and from the airport, though short, were in a luxurious Mercedes Benz.

The swimming pool was inviting...

The lobby was breathtaking...

The room was spectacular!

After flying from Mumbai to Bhuj--we began our tour of medical facilities where doctors, midwives and other medical professionals will be trained on infant resuscitation as part of the Helping Babies Breathe Maternal and Newborn Care Program. 

This small two-room clinic houses the maternity hospital for the Bharwad tribe. The health professional here has been delivering babies for well over 30 years.

The Bharwad women dress in colorful skirts and tops. No sarees here.

Here is a sample of some of the tribe's handi work.

It has lots of jewels, sequins and mirrors which they hand sew on to the fabric.

It takes many weeks to finish a project.

We next traveled to a hospital in the Kutch District (like a US County) to see training facilities there.

Kutch is about 125 miles from the Pakistan border.

This is the hospital owned and operated by Dr. Naveen Thacker--the LDSC partner for the Project in Gandhidham, Kutch.

A large earthquake knocked this entire town to the ground less than 10 years ago--including this hospital. It all had to be rebuilt. The town does not allow buildings over three stories high now.

On the way back to the Bhuj airport we stopped to visit with Dr. D.K. Dubhi, the Chief Medical Officer for the Kutch District to make sure we had his support for this MNC Project. He was very happy to see us and gave his full cooperation.

April 2016 in Rajahmundry--The Heat is ON!

Indian summer is April through August, but the hottest is April through June.

Even the dogs know to take it easy in the afternoon.

Much like Mexico, Indians take a siesta in the afternoons.

One day on our morning walk we heard a commotion down the street from the park where we walk and noticed this truck with three guys running around with aluminum poles that had nets on the end.

It was the dog catcher! Here is his truck.

The dog apparently turned mean and they had to come take it for safety reasons.

We were wondering the other day if  Rajahmundry had newspaper home delivery.

Here was our answer!

So, how many kids can you get in the Auto School Bus?

One more.

We counted 16 plus the driver in this auto.

Here is a sign of the times...

We found this coal fired flat iron full of hot coals on the street on one of our walks around the neighborhood.

Yugadi or Ugadi is new years day for the Telugu and Kannada community of India. It is the Hindu lunar new years day, based on the position of the moon each year near March and April. Here three bulls are decorated for the occasion. They make a special food out of bitter neem flowers and jaggerty and everyone partakes of it to remind them that both happiness and sadness must be experienced in one's life.

We went to the Schade Girls High School in Rajahmundry. It is was started 120 years ago by a Lutheran missionary.

When we arrived we were greeted by drums and singing.

They showered us with flower pedals.

We had a small program with speeches by the staff and teachers.

There was a dancing and singing program.

The girls had made these flowers and presented them to Sister Newton.

There are 160 students, K through 10th class.

We hope to be able to provide them with some microscopes, a teaching laptop, projector and printer, some overhead fans and a new hand water pump to help them cultivate a garden to grow flowers as well as vegetables to augment their lunches.

There was a Rajahmundry District Relief Society activity on the Telugu New Year day.

There were four groups that rotated between workshop rooms. We were the "game people" as always.

We played pictionary and did silly dances like the Chicken Dance and the Bunny Hop.

Sister Penugula, RS President, gave instructions.

There were probably 120 women in attendance.

They learned and had fun.

April 11th was Elder Newton's birthday.

We had our usual Young Single Adult FHE, then the birthday party started!

It was great.

We even celebrated with a haircut and head massage!!

Sister Ball, one of our YSAs, made a special card for Elder.

While waiting at Rajahmundry Intergalactic Airport...we noticed a very nicely dressed lady waiting for her flight.

What struck us as unusual was her shoes...

Green Nikes with a very proper Indian saree. Very Cool.

The dogs of India...

They sleep wherever they want any time of the day...

While driving along a highway we saw some men selling palm fruit.

We stopped and purchased a few to eat on our way.

It was like three very large grapes inside the hard palm fruit exterior.

On April 26, 2016 we had a combined Zone Conference with the Visakhapatnam Zone.  President and Sister Berrett as well as Elder Funk and Sister Funk taught us more about how to teach repentance and the importance of baptism.

Elder Funk in the foreground.

President Berrett in the background.

On April 28th we attended our fourth wedding in India.

Sudhkar and Radha were married in the Rajahmundry Chapel.

First the Bridegroom and then the Bride came in...

The people sang a very special wedding song as each walked to the special seat on the platform at the front of the chapel.

Because the LDS Church is not recognized as a church in India, our clergy cannot marry people--so a Christian clergyman performed the marriage.

Elder Newton was asked to give some remarks and advice to the newly married couple.

Brother Chitti was kind enough to translate into Telugu so that family and friends could understand.