Saturday, May 20, 2017

Vimukti Leprosy Colony

The Vimukti Leprosy Colony is hidden away in the center of Kakinada.  Years ago, the government provided land on the outskirts of town to establish a colony for those with leprosy.  
The town grew and now this colony is surrounded by the busy city.

Although struggling with the many effects of Leprosy, the people are happy and hopeful.

India is considered "ground zero" for the origin of leprosy. The disease dates back to 4000BC

Leprosy has affected humanity for thousands of years, and occurs more commonly among those living in poverty. It affects the nerves, respiratory tract, skin and eyes. More than half of the world’s new cases each year occur in India.
Although, Leprosy is not highly contagious, separating these people into leper colonies still occurs in some parts of India.

LDSC was able to provide 70 pairs of Micro Cellular Rubber (MCR) custom-fit sandals with Velcro straps for the residents of the Colony.

Sometimes it was difficult for the older people to get their shoes on for the first time.

They all were so excited to have new footwear that finally fit their deformed feet!

The government provides these people with the internal medicines needed to combat this crippling disease, but they do not provide the needed bandages and topical medicines to heal and ease the pain of the sores and ulcers that form. LDSC helped with enough of these topical medicines and bandages to last through a year.

Next, we went to work to figure out how to replace the roof and flooring of the outdoor dining and gathering place.

The old dining and gathering area was made of wood poles and thatched palm leaves. There were no fans, no lights and it was not stable.

Our contractor went to work erecting a strong, long-lasting steel frame structure...

and a steel roof, with a new floor and new concrete side walls.

Here is what the gathering area looks like with the final metal security screens and entry doors applied.

We decided to double the number of fans for the bowery from 5 to 10 to move a little more air in the hot months. Augustus and Penugula check it out!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Holy Bells School--Hyderabad

The Holy Bells is a small school of about 200 students.  These children come from the poorest of poor families. Many of them work before and after school just to help their families survive. 

The Director, Mr. Prabhakar, works another job and uses that income to help run the school. His wife is the Headmistress of the school.

The school had no fans and only a few lights that worked. LDSC was able to repair the old wiring and install lights and fans in each classroom.

The school also had no student supplies for the coming school year. 

Student pencils and various writing tablets (notebooks), slates and chalk, pens, and crayons, as well as a case of copy paper was also provided.

Here, the Headmistress stands next to shelves filled with the donated notebooks.

We ordered our notebooks through One Child At a Time (OCAT). This is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that runs several schools for the needy, and provides community activities that strengthens families.  OCAT has the ability to make and bind writing tablets. The proceeds from these tablets go to support their schools and other programs. The notebooks have the LDSC logo on them.  By ordering our notebooks through them, we are helping this wonderful NGO as well as Holy Bells.

Everyone was excited about the school supplies and are very happy to have fans.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sewing Machine Training--Alair

On 4 April 2017, ten treadle and powered sewing machines were delivered to Alair village.

These are the start of a "Stitching  Training" program for the Ladies Association of Alair.

The machines are made by Singer, the model is Merritt. They are a single straight stitching    machine. 

If the power goes out, the ladies just hook up the treadle belt and keep on stichin!

On the 9th of April, we gathered to celebrate the completion of the Project.

Over 80 ladies gathered to help celebrate the creation of a sewing training center.

MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly--Telangana State) Sunitha (at center in the red saree) was present to cheer the group along! 

She and her staff have helped make this Project possible.

Darla visits with the instructor and other leaders of the new training center.

Here are examples of bags already made by some of the ladies. Part of the training will be embroidery and general crafts. A marketing firm has already placed an order for 1,000 bags to sell on behalf of the Ladies' Association cottage industry.

Darla receives a bouquet of flowers and a shawl on behalf of LDS Charities.

They expect over 1,100 women to be involved in the training. This is the beginning of building self-confidence, mastery of skills that are marketable--through family cottage industries, or employment with local textile firms. It is the seed of self-reliance we hope will blossom for generations to come. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

April 2017 in Rajahnundry

One of the last projects we worked on, the Lutheran High School in Dowleswaram, needed 54 new student desks--much like the ones provided to Zilla High School. We stopped in to visit a metal shop the first week in April to check on their ability to do the job.

A few days later we took the metal shop owner to Zilla to see the desks we wanted him to make. As we left, we joined a girls self-defense karate session.

Go Sister Newton!!

Two new Sister Missionaries--Sisters Massey & Swarna--joined us for lunch on Sunday afternoon.

We were able to catch Subbaro and Sitha--our watchman couple--and their family.

They are such great help to us!!

Larry turned 70 years old on 11 April. It is traditional for the birthday person to feed cake and then guests to feed the birthday person...good that the cake was good chocolate cake with cream frosting!

No, Suhira is not trying to pull a tooth...she is just feeding cake!

Over 30 people came to our tiny apartment to wish happy birthday, chat and eat cake!

It was great!

A gift from Raju and his family was a key chain with a grain of rice inside with Larry and Darla's name carved in the single grain.

Then it was back to work in our office...

Lunch with the Elders...

Ice cream with the Elders...

And, on the Friday before Easter, a Ward Missionary Activity with the Elders of the Second Ward.

Which included lots of games relating to workshops on the Plan of Salvation.
We hosted the Prathi Family for Family Home Evening on the 17th. Had a simple lesson on the importance of FHE; ate mashed potatoes, gravy and fried chicken; played a Gospel memory game and ate apple crisp and ice cream! 

A few days later, Sister Swarna finished her service, and we attended her farewell activity at the Stake Center.
This month, we also celebrated our 94th flight since our Mission service began in June 2015! Wow, that's a lot of boarding passes!

Here, we visit with the Bushi Family--with their brand new baby girl: Joanna

On the 25th we helped celebrate Nichol's "Coming of Age Function"

Nichol and her mom and dad.

Nichol's hair arrangement.

Ladies line dance...

Food, and more food!

BIG party.

Lots of desserts too!

We also attended a combined Zone Conference with Visakhapatnam 
and Rajahmundry.
Elder Evans of the Asia Area Presidency came and taught us.

It was good to be with the Elders and Sisters.