Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 2, Day 1: Slum Clinic and The Great Tuk-Tuk Adventure

     Our "real jobs" started today with the beginning of a new week.  Since there were enough Health Program volunteers, IVHQ was able to hold a clinic in the slums where we provided free healthcare to the people in the area that wanted to see the doctor.
THIS is what I love doing and where I am the happiest. 
     We had different stations set up with different people at each station: 2 with a translator filling out the top part of the form with the patient's name and age and chief complaint, 1 person taking blood pressure, 2 people doing blood sugar and pulse oximetry, 2 people doing the physical examination, and 1 person helping get the medications from the pharmacy table. The doctor was seen at the end after the patient was examined and he let us make a probable diagnosis. Dr. Probhat would correct our probable diagnosis when needed, tell us what was actually wrong and why, and also give us some more information on what to look for with the issue.  He would also call us over to look at patients with more unusual diseases.  It was a great day of serving and learning.


    After eating a late lunch after the clinic, we all went to Sector 15 market to book train and bus tickets for various weekend trips.  We had to take 2 tuk-tuks since there were so many of us, and that's where the fun started. I call this paragraph of my blog "The Great Tuk-Tuk Adventure."  We hailed one and managed to make the driver understand that we wanted to get to Sector 15.  He said a bunch of Hindi words then told us the price was 50 rupees.  This was a steal (we normally pay 100-150 rupees to get that far) so we all hopped in.  We are bouncing down the road, smelling the pigs, looking at the scenery of scattered trash, when suddenly he pulls over and motions us to get out! We gather that he wants us to take another tuk-tuk, which makes us rather annoyed. We hail another one, then he starts motioning for us to pay him.  Now, when a driver cant take you to where you need to go, you dont pay him.  So we try and tell him no because this isnt the market, but he just isnt understanding.  We get in another tuk-tuk, since at this point there are multiple tuk-tuks that have pulled off near us wanting our business, but our former driving starts ranting to him so we cant leave.  The new driver seems torn on what to do, so we get out and walk a few feet until 2 more tuk-tuks pull over.  We get in a new tuk-tuk, but before we can pull away, the former angry driver and 4 of his fellow tuk-tuk friends pull over and block us in! He gets out and keeps yelling at us, and all the other drivers get out too! We try yelling back that he didnt take us where we wanted to go, but none of them spoke English so it was a giant chaotic mess of English and Hindi and no one understanding.  We walk away again, try a new tuk-tuk, and get blocked in again!! Finally we are so flustered and aggravated that we just pay him what he thought we owed him so we could move on with our trip to the market.  We did finally make it after an uneventful ride with the new driver.
a tuk tuk in New Delhi

     After getting our tickets at the market, we stopped by Sarita's house so I could get my now-dry laundry and my sari blouse that Sarita's mother finished sewing. I now have a complete sari! We walked down to the Crown Plaza Mall from there, where a few people wanted to get McDonalds.  I was tempted to get a McSpicy Paneer since it was amusing, but opted instead to get food from a vendor outside the mall.  There are these delicious things called "momos" that I am now a huge fan of. They are essentially vegetarian dumplings, and another volunteer and I later discovered even better ones at the small market closest to our homestay family. 
     I showered tonight, which wouldn't normally be worth mentioning except for the fact I had to learn how to use buckets and a heating coil.  There is no hot water, so 15 minutes before you want to shower you have to stick this hot coil in the bucket and let it heat the water up.  Then you can come in and use a smaller bucket to scoop out the warm water and pour it on yourself.  Its actually a quite efficient and less wasteful way to shower.  It is, however, slightly inconvenient to shave due to the goosebumps.

     Tomorrow we go back to the slum camp, then who knows what the afternoon will hold.

Much love, 

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