These emergency calls seem to be coming far too often, the latest involved a young girl of 5 years. I had just been to the slum to take medicine for the boy who was burnt and on my way home (5 minutes away) I got another call from the same slum saying a young girl had fallen over and hit her head on a stone. I turned my bike around and headed straight back.
When I arrived, the young girl was crying and what made it ten times worse was her young mother, perhaps just 21 years old was doing exactly the same. A few stern words to her mother and a bit of reassurance to the young girl helped a little. The mothers younger sister, who's just 16 years old had carefully (done a good job actually) bandaged her head, which on removing the stained bandage showed that the wound was bleeding at a fair rate. It was a smallish 'hole' in her forehead but it wouldn't stop bleeding.
I was taught that anything to do with the head should be shown to a doctor, so we jumped on the bike and headed to the district hospital emergency room for a check over. During the short ride the girl calmed down a lot and we even got a couple of small smiles from her. Unlike last week when the emergency room was packed, this time we were the only patients so we were in and out in 10 minutes. The doctor advised a course of antibiotics after cleaning and dressing the wound, but said everything should be ok.
We bought the medicine and in typical Goan style received a couple of sweets as 'change' which managed to put a bigger smile on the young patients face. After dropping them home and having another quiet talk with the young mother about keeping calm in these situations, we headed home.
It had been over a month since the last time we gave out Rice and Health packs as Robert had been 'out of station'. It was good to catch up with the families again and give out 'rice rations' to those families who allow their children to attend school. It's a simple small incentive, but it all helps, with each child attending school for a full week receiving a kilo of rice.
Due to the 4 week absence each child was due 4 kilos of rice. The only transportation we have is a motorbike so obviously it has to be done in stages. We have given out 50Kg so far and hope to do another 50kg today and then another 50kg next week and we should be back on track. As well as the rice we will be giving out the mosquito coils and liquid to help prevent malaria and also, have already given out health packs to one slum and hope to give the rest out in the next couple of days. I am thinking I should get a small trailer for my bike.
Thank you to everyone who has helped provide these necessities, and look forward to your continued support.
Child Burnt, Admitted Into District Hospital In Mapusa
, Mapusa, Goa, India
One late evening we received a call from the slum asking for us to come quickly as one of the boys had an accident. It took a couple of minutes to understand what happened and we were finally told that the boy had been burnt. A frantic look around for suitable medicine didn't help so we headed to the slum empty handed. On arriving Robert met up with the boy and his family, it was a shock to find one of the older boys in such distress. This is when we finally understood why there was a little delay in saying what had happened.
While at home the boy had picked up a freshly made piping hot chai (tea) and just as he was sipping it, realised it was too hot and burnt his tongue which resulted in him dropping the tea which spilled down the centre of his body and thighs. He was in a lot of pain so he very carefully got onto the bike and we gingerly headed off to the hospital. During the short bike ride to the district hospital, the boy was asking, 'will I die', he was terrified as the pain was desperately intense. But we continued to re- assure him that it will hurt, but everything will be ok.
Unfortunately the current state of Goa's roads did not help make it an easy journey, but by the time we arrived he had calmed down a little. To reduce the pain, Robert dropped the boy at the doors to accident and emergency and after parking the bike we headed in and asked to be seen as quickly as possible. Unfortunately it was quite a busy night and the room was packed with other patients. We found him a bed to lie down on as Robert informed the doctors what had happened. There was apparently only the one doctor seeing patients so we had to wait 15 - 20 minutes to be seen, but the boy was really brave and I am sure he just wanted to scream but managed to restrain himself. Due to the personal nature of the area burnt the doctor erected the screen and with the help of a male nurse examined him. It just took 2 minutes for them to realise that he would need to be admitted. When people are admitted in Indian hospitals it is customary for a family member to stay with them and act as their personal nurse. By this time one of his elder brothers had joined us at the hospital and was ready to stay for the first night.
The patient needed a few things (soap, toothpaste etc) so Rob nipped out to collect these and then headed to the boys house to ask for clean clothes. His mother was getting ready to take the things so Robert passed on the toiletries for her to take. In the morning Robert visited him and found the patient was looking much better and more relaxed and was able to joke about the nurses looking after him. Each evening we visited him and kept him entertained by taking a few films for him to watch and a large food packet to feed him and his family carer. He was in hospital for 5 days and during each visit he was more relaxed and feeling better. After being discharged, the boy still needed to look after the burn, which still required daily dressings and attention.
We provided him with medicine and dressings and although his first night at home was uncomfortable, so much so that we received a call at 3 o'clock in the morning he is now becoming mobile and is able to get around and maybe, a little unwillingly, he can return to school (it's exam time).
A special thanks to Sylvia Measday for kindly donating some medical items recently which were useful in helping this child - Thanks
In Goa, scouts and guides are associated more with schools, rather than being an out of school activity, teachers become the scout/guide masters and encourage children to take up the scout/guide oath. Three of the children we help have started 'scouting' this year enabling them to have a more varied experience and in the words of the 'The Bharat', Scouts and Guides the mission of Scouting is...
"to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society"
The children looked very smart in their new scout uniforms, they were waiting for their woggles and accessories to arrive, but hopefully these will be sorted in the next week or two.
With the World Cup and Shakira's performance dominating the news during the monsoon, and the children do like a bit of Shakira, the children were excited to start playing football for the school, which meant it became necessary to find sets of football gear for the kids. We had a few shirts in stock, but sadly no football boots or pads so the children took a trip to the shops to find a suitable kit to protect their shins and feet.
The kids are great at sport and football is no exception, but it can get a bit rough and one of the children was feeling a little bruised after one of their matches. If anyone reading this is travelling to Goa and has an old (but in good condition) set of football gear we would be delighted to receive it so that it can go to a worthy new home.
We would be delighted to receive, football shirts, shorts, boots, socks and shin pads. Please keep in mind that many of the children are relatively small for their age.