Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breath of Life

We started the 4th group of health classes today and my excitement has been charged again. Our Breath of Life curriculum covers maternal and child care from prenatal nutrition through home health and water sanitation. Training Rosy and Paulus' staff and field workers has been an incredible learning experience in and of itself. They work in 125 villages surrounding Madurai, which are grouped into 6 clusters, each with 25 villages. There are 2 supervisors for each cluster who manage the field staff and report back to the leadership. Each cluster is also assigned: 5 Animators who visit pregnant mothers and conduct health education classes, 25 Tuition Center Teachers who run after school tutoring programs for children at risk of falling behind in their studies or dropping out of school, and 150 Change Agents or volunteer peer tutors who hope to educate others in their community to improve the overall situation of those they live among.

Our fist class included the leadership and all supervisors. They were a fun group to teach! I know most of them from previous trips and it was easy to talk openly about their doubts and our cultural naivety.

The discussions have been really lively and tested my knowledge a lot. We've learned a lot about common beliefs and practices--and have done our best to understand the reasons behind them. We have so much to learn from one and another and I'm so grateful to be apart of the work here. Our partner's ministries from the top to the bottom, bottom to top are a real inspiration. I love meeting so many wonderful people and working together to come up with local, useful, relevant solutions to their concerns. It's been great to get out of the journal articles and WHO website and work directly with people instead of statistics. Yes there is extreme poverty in India, yes it can be hot, yes the food is different, yes we have very different perspectives on life--but when you really get to know the people none of that seems to matter. We're all just doing our best to provide for our families and communities. I often feel that I'm learning more from them than they from me. Just the number of volunteers and staff that have dedicated their lives to help others is an example we can all learn from.

I can't wait to come back in the next year or so and see how the class has given our partners the knowledge and tools to affect change!! As well as reunite with good friends.

With Love
Jessica

(Our internet isn't working well--if you'd like to see pictures check out my VTRC album on Facebook!)

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