Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

India! (Day 2)

   My goodness, I woke up with a foul disposition this morning.  Must be hormones because I'm in flipping INDIA!  Which is awesome!  I think part of it was being bummed that all of my friends were flying away to go to see other parts of India and I wish I was going too.  I probably couldn't have handled all that travel, but part of me still wishes I had signed up for one of the multi-night trips.  There are only 50 of us left on the boat, so it's a bit lonely.  I was also not looking forward to my field program that day.  It was to an alternative health center and I didn't feel like doing that today.  But lack of friends around means lack of options.

   I missed breakfast by one minute and none of the other snack places were open due to a safety drill.  Another strike against my mood.  My roomie and I were laughing as we were running around the room cursing at the hairbrush we couldn't find or the laundry that was in the way of the closet.  It was definitely a PG-13 type or morning.  haha
   Before I headed out to catch the bus, I took a breath and forced myself to get some perspective.  Here is how it went:
me 1:  This day sucks.  My friends are all off traveling without me.
me 2:  INDIA!
me 1:  And I missed breakfast.
me 2:  YOU ARE IN INDIA!
me 1:  And my school doesn't want to let me graduate on time.
me 2:  Did I mention INDIA!?!
me 1:  And I'm tired and so very POTSie
me 2:  YOU ARE IN FLIPPING INDIA!  What would The Doctor do?
me 1:  Ok, you got my attention.  The Doctor would definitely stop moping and go find adventures.  Ok let's go.

ALLON-ZY!


  It really is important that I try my best not go get caught up in being tired or whatever because this IS a once in a lifetime experience.  I don't want to miss any opportunity because I was too busy being a bum.  

  With that pep talk, I headed out to the bus.  It was a long ride to the health center so I had some time to further get a grip, let my meddies kick in, and listen to Doctor Who soundtrack music.  I got a better look at the area and learned a lot from the guide as well.  I kept thinking that this was more like my childhood vision of India and less like what I knew of from my Dad's travels.  Turns out, India is a big place and the state I am in is pretty different than the rest of India.  It is the only state with a non-congress government because it leans more towards the communism side.  There are lots of cool Soviet flags everywhere!  People are all afraid of communism, but it seems to work here.  There are NO slums in the whole state!  The classes are much more integrated than in the rest of India and the wages are quite high due to strong labor organization.  Health care and education are free and very high quality.  Any student, from any socioeconomic status has an equal chance at going to university if they work hard.  I have to remember that what the guide tells me is always a shiny version of the area, but everything I saw supported that this state had a higher standard of living.  The weather, of course, is also different since we are so far south.  Just like the U.S., India is really diverse in culture and ecology.  
  By the time we arrived at the health center, I was mostly back to being my cheery self.  We were greeted by several people who worked there as well as the local media.  As we got off the bus, we were adorned with a red mark on our forehead, a jasmine necklace (that smelled better than amazing!), and a bouquet of flowers!  
   
For the rest of the morning, the head physician gave us a seminar overview of Ayurvedic (pronounced roughly eye - you - ve-deck) medicine.  It was really interesting!  There are so many aspects of that medical philosophy that make a lot of sense and are lacking in Western medicine.  Things like looking at the whole person (including habitat, diet, emotions, etc.) and not needing physical proof for a disease to be acknowledged seemed like amazingly good ideas.  
   
I did have trouble with other parts of the philosophy.  I'm not religious, but I guess science partly fills that role in my life.  It was hard to accept the different view points without getting emotional about it.  After all, so much of my life is in medicine.  I kept thinking about it and critiquing each point and then I realized that I would never understand Ayurvedic medicine with that strategy.  It was developed based on completely different ways of thinking than the type of medicine I am used to.  I can't analyze the effectiveness of a type of oil for people with arthritis because I'm using the wrong tools, asking the wrong questions.  I want to take those ideas, put them in test tubes, and give the data to a statistician to analyze to see if the results are significant.  But that won't work.  For me to really understand, I would have to first become comfortable with a whole new way of thinking.  Since I only had a few hours there, I couldn't understand it in the way that I wanted.  I just had to take in all I could and figure out what it meant to me later.  Or maybe never.  Some experiences are perfectly amazing without the analysis I'm so fond of.
 

  Lunch was even better than yesterday AND my stomach handled it much better.  We at at a long wooden table with our food placed on banana leaves in an order having to do with sweetness and saltiness.  It was all veggie, but still quite filling.  We had the option of using our hand (only the right one, of course.  It would be really rude to use our left hand.) or utensils and I used a both strategies.  So much fun!



   I was quite wilted by then, but really wanted to walk the grounds with the rest of the group so I headed out and tried to keep up.  It was really interesting to see all of the different plants and what they can be used for!  I wish I had felt better so I could have walked around more.  (I mostly would  walk a bit, sit on the ground and look around and then walk some more, rinse and repeat...)  

   I just barely made it to check out the pharmacy and the treatment rooms.  THe pharmacy was very cool.  It was floor to ceiling of bottles to treat just about any ailment imaginable.  
   The treatment rooms honestly looked a little more like a place of punishment than a place of healing.  haha I'm sure it actually was very relaxing and rejuvenating in practice, but just in my brief glimpse, it looked a little scary.
    

I happily got back on the bus and barely stayed awake for the drive back.  Once back on the ship, it was a quick dinner and an early bedtime.  :0)

1 comment:

  1. Have patience have fun. Hopefully you will have plenty of things to do if not off the boat. Best!!

    ReplyDelete

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