So far, we have been to the states of Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarpradesh, and Punjab! It’s pretty awesome that we will have visited FIVE states while in India for just one month.
Hmmm, so what should I tell you about the week in Patti? A LOT. We got there Monday from Dehradun in a vehicle that definitely required 4-wheel drive to get through the rugged terrain. Patti is a small village that has a clinic funded completely by CFHI. At this clinic, patients can be seen by a physician and a pharmacist. They commonly see cases regarding fever, upper respiratory infections, scabies, snake bites, wound infections, and diarrheal illnesses. Since this clinic is completely funded by CFHI, all doctor appointments and medications are free for the patients. So that’s pretty cool! The doctor we worked with for the week practiced both allopathic medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic Medicine is doctors regard physical and mental existence, and personality as a unit, with each element influencing the other. It’s a holistic approach used during diagnosis and therapy and is a fundamental aspect of Ayurveda. Ayurveda also utilizes different types of medical herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, alavera, basil leaves, and panchakarma to treat certain illnesses. Turmeric is used to treat common skin infections, alovera is used as a moisturizer and anti-acne treatment, basil leaves served in tea can help treat the common cold, Hadith is useful in constipation, and chronic patients may undergo something called panchakarma that is used as a purification technique to eliminate toxic elements from the body.
Our day started at 7 am with a one hour yoga session with our Yoga teacher. We then had breakfast, rotation at 10:30 am, and then another 1 hour yoga session at 5 pm until dinner. It was cool because the clinic was right above where we were sleeping, eating, and doing yoga—so it’s all in one location! I found yoga to be so physically and mentally relaxing, as well as challenging. Before coming to Patti, I had only attempted yoga a couple times, but I’m so glad I had increased exposure to it.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there was a “health camp” that takes place from 10 am-1 pm. We hiked about 1.5 kilometers to the rural clinic where the physician and pharmacist see patients from certain villages who live far from the CFHI clinic. Patients are seen for issues such as upper respiratory infections, fever, cerumen impaction, and scabies. The health camps are mainly coordinated by 6 health promoters located throughout the surrounding villages. Each Tuesday and Thursday, they rotate to a different village and see patients at the home of the health promoter. We thought it was so neat how the health promoters open up their home to everyone to be seen by the doctor. Another example of how truly community-oriented India can be.
Patti was truly breathtaking. Me and Lindsey went on a couple walks together on the gravel roads and just marveled at the breathtaking beauty of the green landscape and mountains in the distance. It felt like a dream being there. We had so many great conversations with the clinic staff and their families. There were discussions involving the different types of crops grown in Patti, spirituality, religion, and techniques to better meditative practices. I feel like I have learned so much from these conversations. Specifically, we had a really great conversation with the brother in-law to the wife at our homestay in Dehradun. He explained to us how our thought processes ultimately affect our personality. Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to actions which lead to habits and then lead to what forms our personality. He said being able to generate positive thoughts (even if it might not be instinctual for you to do that) can change so many outcomes of situations. I just wanted to share that!
On Thursday of that week we were able to celebrate our first ever Holi festival! Holi represents the festival of colors and love. In the morning, we were invited to celebrate Holi with the CFHI village clinic pharmacist and his family. They served us a wonderful and delicious breakfast and showed us how to play Holi. I felt so honored that they invited us to celebrate their sacred holiday with them together as a family. We were shown how people walk up to each other and dip their hands in bags of colored ground up flower petals that serve as a safer and cleaner form of paint. When you walk up to the other person, you wish them a “Happy Holi” and place your fingers in the middle of their forehead, then down the sides of their face with the color and then the other person does the same thing to you! Sounds pretty chill, right? Well, it gets way crazier than that! On Holi, schools and most businesses are closed to honor the celebration. This meant that our village clinic was closed for the day, so me and Lindsey celebrated Holi at our coordinator’s friend’s house. This celebration was AMAZING. People were throwing water balloons and bottles of liquified flower petal paint on each other. At one point earlier in the day, I was even just sitting in the car with the window down and someone threw paint IN THE CAR on my face. The driver wasn’t even mad about the mess…he just laughed. And so did I 🙂 it was such a great day, and one that I will never forget. The food, music, and dancing were spectacular and everyone made us feel so welcomed and included. I couldn’t have asked for a better Holi experience!
We are now back in Dehradun for OUR FINAL WEEK IN INDIA. I can’t believe I’m typing that sentence, but it’s a real thing and it’s actually happening. In some ways, this month has flown by, and it’s a bittersweet feeling to be approaching my last few days in this ever so beautiful country (: