Saturday, January 5, 2013


 I only volunteered in the baby and toddler room in Madras, though I did visit the h/c children next door room who were able to sit up quietly in chairs all day doing nothing and occasionally the upstairs room with 14 prostate kids. However the nuns decided to transfer two of the cerebral palsy affected children to the toddlers room. They were around 6 and 8 years respectively. The older girl was so often crying which was very disconcerting and personally I’ve always wondered how a child crying without adequate attention for hours and hours can affect the psyche of other young children present. Soprana perhaps was suffering any number of discomforts. Would a comfortable swinging sling with mobiles perhaps have distracted her?- though she was absolutely silenced by the comfort of human touch. However people were so busy she could not receive that attention she deserved. The nuns’ solution was to open their habitually locked cupboards and provide her with biscuits. She certainly enjoyed them as could be evidenced by the state of her teeth. The saddest thing re Soprana was viewing a letter that was on the table where I ate lunch- including the lemon rice etc that I purchased myself. The letter lying idle available for all to see was a hand written letter from a previous volunteer from France who wanted to adopt Soprana. The superior told me it was not to be. Though this would have been great as her present life was basically an endless purgatory. Though this adoption may sound unlikely and perhaps potentially dodgy the fact remains that I have met some extraordinarily generous souls visiting and volunteering in MC homes. There was one working right at this time with a smaller younger child who had been abandoned in the next door church. Although abandonment sounds highly uncaring it is, in fact the only way a handicapped child will ever be admitted to a MC home. MCs have talked to me about how they will and have refused to accept a child with a family. This French middle aged volunteer fell in love with this little boy who may have had brain irritation due to his birthing or perhaps had suffered from meningitis as an infant. Without cuddling and comfort and sometimes even despite this he would scram and cry. X was so taken with him that she wanted to take her with her to France for a year to be treated- perhaps even operated on. Perhaps the MCs didn’t have the skills or desire to bring this to fruition. Because of her calming presence he did not receive endless biscuits to silence him and hence his teeth remained in tact for the time being. Did MT not realize much about dental care? The literature does indicate that she was often reprimanded by her dentist for eating too many chocolates, though the word ‘chocolates’ in India doubles up for caramels. Did her personal dentist not remind her of the need to clean teeth- hers and thus everybody else’s at least once daily before bed? It’s true the ubiquitous plastic brushes are not used by the poorer classes at least then in India- but poorer people did purchase and use sticks cut from the neen tree, which achieved the same end. But MT appeared to provide neither tooth cleaner for her inmates.