Independent in India

While everyone else is shivering in the English climate back home, my Indian adventure is continuing! I am staying on for one more week yaaaay! The main idea behind this was to get some experience in some of the hospitals here because I am training to become a doctor in the UK!
When the rest of the team jetted off early Thursday morning it was a very strange sensation of suddenly feeling alone and having lots more responsibility. For the past two and a half weeks Cathy had been making all of the decisions about where we would be visiting and how we would be getting there, but suddenly I was in charge of what I would be doing! So over the last few days I have mainly been at Child’s Trust hospital on a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This has been an amazing learning experience as I have never been on this type of ward before. It has also been very challenging however, with many of these babies in very critical conditions. My day here generally starts at about 7:30 where I get up, have a shower and head down to the awesome breakfast that the YMCA provides for me. This usually includes food like vada (crispy savoury doughnut type things) and dosa (similar to pancakes) – all very delicious! I then get an auto to the hospital which is one of the best and most interesting morning commutes I have ever had to have! Rush hour in Chennai is absolute madness of honking horns and traffic in gridlock trying to navigate around each other! Once I’m finally at the hospital, I shadow the doctors on the ward and try to learn as much as I can. The doctors on the ward have been great!
Even though I am out here on my own there hasn’t been one evening that I haven’t been invited out to people’s houses/churches/band practices! Everyone here is so welcoming and wants me to be involved with everything that is happening, and I am happy to oblige! The best case of this was on Sunday when I was invited to a YMCA affiliated church in a part of Chennai that I had not been to before. When I got there I was asked if I would be able to lead the worship in the service and lead all of the children’s groups after! All good fun! I’ve learnt that if you get invited to anything in India, be prepared to improvise at any moment!!
On Sunday afternoon, after church, I even managed to go to the Boys Town at Kottivakham! This was such a nice experience because they were all so shocked to see me turn up! They all thought I’d gone back to England with the others. We played cricket and volleyball for a couple of hours until I was shattered from 50 boys crowding round me and wanting to play thumb wars!
Over the last week I have met some amazing people and enjoyed a time away from all the stresses of my usual life back in England! Everyone has looked out for me, and I’ve loved being independent in this incredible city.

By Joel Stone

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