Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rising Star Outreach--MCR Shoe Manufacturing Inauguration 21 Apr 2017

Rising Star Outreach is a 13-acre K-10 residential school campus located in Thottanaval Village, in Uthiramerur Taluk, within Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu State and serves families of persons affected by leprosy.

LDS Charities helped Rising Star to develop a Micro Cellular Rubber (MCR) shoe manufacturing center by donating equipment and supplies to get the enterprise operational for the first year.

On a bright summer day in late April, we gathered to inaugurate the shoe manufac-
turing center, located within the nearby Mangalam Village.

Stephanie Fisher, a volunteer from Germany, who specializes in marketing education, was our MC.

A girls choir from the school sang a song of thankfulness.

Talented young women who love their school, their teachers and their dorm moms.

Elder and Sister Newton were honored with beautiful shawls and original paintings created by leprosy patients.

Sister Newton had the honor of cutting the official ribbon for the opening of the new shoe manufacturing facility--formerly a home for beehives.

Then it was time to check out the new shop! This manufacturing barn is unlike any manufacturing facility anywhere else in the world.

The open-air design and its location within a lush garden of trees, shrubs and flowers, allows the shoe technician to work in a beautiful setting, yet protected from the elements.

G. Rajan is excited to begin making custom shoes.

Rising Star expects to manufacture 1,500 the first year.

Rajan is excited to show us his new tools and supplies.

Shoe forms...

Cutting tools...

Rivets to hold leather together...

A powerful grinder to finish the leather and rubber materials.

G. Rajan explains the process to Elder Newton and to Dr. Susan Hilton, Managing Director and Medical Director.

Everyone enjoyed seeing the beginning of an exciting venture to make shoes for feet infected by leprosy that need protection from further injury.

From the staff that helped prepare the new facility... the Finance Director, Johnson Yobu--in the blue shirt here--and his staff in the office.

We took opportunity to present Dr. Hilton with a remembrance from LDS Charities.

A pencil and pen cup for her desk...

...that has the LDS Charities logo and dates of our service.

Left to Right: Dr. Hilton, Darla, Larry, Stephanie Fisher and Carrie Scott (Rising Star Development Director from Provo, UT)

NOTE: The following took place on 24 to 26 April 2017:

Footwear technician G. Rajan went to Chettipunyam Leprosy Colony on Monday (24 April 2017) and took measurements. Ten patients needed shoes.

This is patient Number One.

By the end of the day Monday the custom shoes were well into production.

By Wednesday the shoes were assembled and in final finish.

By the end of the day Wednesday, all eight pairs of shoes were ready for delivery to the patients at Chettipunyam Leprosy Colony... and two more pair would be completed by Thursday afternoon.

Mission accomplished!

While walking out of the self-reliance garden area, we stopped to take photos of some of the plants.

Here (Left) are tapioca plants...

On the Right are pineapple bushes, with a tiny pineapple just starting.

We then traveled to the Mugulvadi Leprosy Colony--about 15 Km away--to check on the nine residents and talk with their leaders: JiRaj and JiMary.

JiRaj and JiMary are such happy people--despite the effects leprosy has on their lives. Here JiRaj sings and dances with Carrie.

We all sang, danced and visited with them, 
despite the 108 F temperatures that felt like 126 F.

Carrie gives a loving hug to JiMary.

Stephanie dances and sings with JiRaj and JiMary.

Despite repeated attempts for us to help them with something specific that day, they said they were all just fine. They also thanked us for coming and thanked Rising Star Outreach for always being there for them...for bringing them rice, dahl, medicines and hope at least twice each month. They have nothing, and they appreciate every visit.

It was time for us to leave and they were as happy as when we arrived! Such loving people: the Rising Star Outreach staff and the people affected by leprosy.

Back at the School Campus we were welcomed by the students with this beautiful chalk Kolam design at the entry.

It was play time for the children.

Soon, we were surrounded by happy, loving faces curious about who we were and why foreigners were at their school. 

We talked, played and had a good time with them!

It was time for us to leave.

We had a little time, so we visited the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary near the School. Hundreds of pelicans, cranes, egrets and much more.

A short trip but a lot of memories.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

March 2017 in Rajahmundry

On March 1st and 2nd we had the opportunity to visit nine inter-city slum schools in Hyderabad with Elder and Sister Henrie, Water Specialists from Orem, UT, to check out a potential Clean Water Project.

We always love to see the smiling faces of the children.

So happy with the world!

Most of these concrete box schools have no water at all, except what is delivered by truck each fortnight or so.

Consequently, the restrooms are mostly inoperative and the kids must use a nearby field.

We were also able to visit several villages and schools in the Nalgonda District, outside Hyderabad, as possible recipients of new Reverse Osmosis filter systems to clean up the heavy metals (including large amounts of fluoride) in the only water they have to drink. This is a special friend we met at a meeting of a governing village panchayat group. Love that smile!! In Telugu, smile is "Navoo".

We also visited a few of the RO plants that were installed last year. Here is a photo of Sister Henrie (top) and the group with students and staff of a school made up of girls from scheduled tribes (from the poorest tribal villages). They were so happy we came back to to see them!

We also checked out the RO system we installed last year at a large high school that serves many villages. You can see, these kids loved to see us and were most appreciative of the clean water they can freely drink and not worry about getting sick. The workers installed outside taps so that students have access to clean water whenever they want it!

Part of the evaluation process is to ask a series of standardized questions at a representative number of sites where we installed an RO system to evaluate how the system is operating and to ascertain if the system is being maintained properly to ensure that a good sustainability plan is in place.

Along the road, we saw this remarkable statue. It is King Krishnadevaraya of Andhra Pradesh, who reined from 1509 to 1529 AD.

There are statues of historical Indian figures throughout the countryside and in cities.

Back home at our apartment, we celebrate having all the fixins' for American tacos--keema beef (ground beef), roti bread (instead of tortillas), smuggled-in Old El Paso salsa (thank you, Amazon India), some cut up tomatoes, small-cubed mozzarella cheese, cabbage (sorry, no lettuce available) and Coke--The Real Thing, due to the Diet Coke Famine in Rajahmundry!! Ahh, it doesn't get any better, here in India.

We decided to take a bunch of photos of the people we visit with each morning, as well as some of the current sights, as we walk to the park and back. This is the breakfast cart lady we greet every morning. She always has a cheery smile and a great "Good Morning!" for us.

We also walk by this Hindu Temple each day. On Fridays, there's lots of activity. Early in the day we see Hindu priests out washing down sacred cows just inside these gates.

Here is that same temple gate a few weeks later on 29 March--the Ugadi or Telegu New Year celebration is underway!

Just down the street from the Hindu temple is another breakfast cart friend. He also serves lots of deep-fried somethings that everybody seems to come eat every morning!

Here is another common sight--our trash lady friend--pushing her cart of garbage up the street and blowing her whistle, signaling to families on the block to bring down their garbage to be taken away.

She is always smiling and often we give her a small bag of fruit for a snack later in the day.

Across from the park we see two neighbors discussing the world, or the neighborhood...

People are the same world-wide. They just may look a little different.

Oh, look out...

Here comes the pre-school scooter bus...

Huh, must be a slow day. Only five on this scooter.

And sometimes we see the ritual of a morning shower on the front porch at an apartment across from the park.

...and teenage girls in the front yard brushing their teeth and fixing their hair...

A man huffs up the hill of a neighborhood street with his bicycle rickshaw.

There's always something to be delivered somewhere!!

We needed to change our regular walking route to the park because work crews started tearing up the road.

They widened the road and started laying concrete over the top of existing weathered asphalt.

This is what REAL work looks like: These guys carry pans of sand, gravel and cement all day long in the hot sun. We estimate those pans weigh 125 pounds. It takes two people to load them on their heads.

Oh, my aching back...and neck...and arms...and...

Lunch with Elder Mitra and Elder Magnusson 13 March

On the road to Yanalapalli Village, Darla took a few pictures out of the car window--

A highway fruit stand...


Wash day on the Godavari River...

A tributary canal makes its way into the River.

Celebrating the 18th month mark for Elder Magnusson at the Green Tree Restaurant:
Sisters Swarna and Massey, Elder Hadley and Elder Magnusson, Raju, Elder North and Elder Mitra.

Sunday lunch with Raju and his family...large fresh-water prawns fried with cashews, onions and secret spices.

Here is where those wonderful prawns come from...

A canal off of the Godavari River.

And here is the fish market where they are marketed...on the streets near the canal in West Godavari. We try to buy them live right out of the river.

Here is how the fishermen and women get their water for taking care of their catch.

The calm waters of the canal, looking down-stream towards the Bengal Sea--about 50 Km away.

Zone Conference with the Elders and Sisters.

Great time to be with the missionaries and with President and Sister Mortensen.

On Tuesday, 21 March, Augustus took us to Yanalapalli Village--about two hours by car in West Godavari.

Here are shops along the highway.

We visited two small elementary schools to see what help LDS Charities may be able to provide.

The Children were sooo
Cute! These are part of a pre-school, held in a building that they hope will be their village library.

We took with us several children's books of Indian fables, written in English and gave them to the schools.

We also gave each child a notebook to write in. They loved them.

The bright-eyed smiles tell the story!

This village had a larger pond for domestic water and a smaller pond just for the water buffalo.

Aren't the little ones cute?

I'd love to have a pair in my field in Morgan.

No way they could survive Utah winters!!

As the HOT afternoon sun loomed high in the sky, we got HOT too!
So, suddenly a young man appears with a large table-top electric fan. He turned it on and started walking with us to keep us cool! It was BATTERY-POWERED!

WOW! Darla asked him to stay with us for the rest of our time in India!

It's a Happy Day in Rajahmundry!!

The 3-month Diet Coke Famine is OVER!!!

Need your head shaved?

You are never too far away from this service. This barber will set up on the sidewalk where you are!

A new swing was donated to our walking park...

we had to try it out!

Several months ago, we accidentally dropped a box of books on the soft marble shelf in the Hindu prayer room of our apartment. This day, we had a new shelf crafted and replaced it. 

Here, they cut and carve out a perfect round bevel around three sides of the shelf. 
It's all gloves, no eye protection, no shoes, no safety guard on the saw...just a finger holding the water line against the saw blade to lubricate the cuts.

And then there was volleyball with the Young Single Adults and the Elders.

Larry mostly stood in the shade on the court...shagging out-of-bounds balls that were way over his head; and generally stayed out of the way of play!!