I have been told that I am compassionate, and I always knew I wanted to be able to help change people’s lives for the better. It’s the reason I became a registered nurse. For the past eight years I have been a stay at home mom whose priority has only been my family and raising my girls. I have been wanting to be involved with something more than just donating money to an organization. I wanted to be hands on and actually be involved more deeply and connect with the people who need it the most and know who they are and their story.
I got an opportunity after I met Jenny during our daughters’ dance class and made a trip to Wayanad to Profugo’s Center of Development during my trip to India in December 2012. I knew then that I would want to go back to help somehow. Profugo has been trying to find new ways to engage and serve the community. The community as a whole benefits when the people are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. After some brainstorming, the team came up with the idea of conducting a pilot Health and Wellness seminar this past summer.
Finally, I got my first opportunity, and I was so happy to have had a chance to facilitate the first health seminar for Profugo’s Health and Wellness program and based on feedback, we knew there was definitely a need for it. This was my first opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life. It was a life changing experience for me.
Our team back home in Ardmore, including Colleen O’Brien, prepared a field seminar for me to present. I conducted the first seminar for women and the next day was the children’s. In the women’s seminar we discussed stress management, physical activity, diet, and basics of blood pressure. We conducted blood pressure screening, community forms and a survey. There was even an exercise component by the Field Fellows Emily and Isel.
When I started to interact with the women and hear their stories, I started to think about the importance of basic health care needs of the town. For example I heard about how they have to travel 90 minutes to the nearest clinic. In another case, a pregnant mother thought she was starting to have signs of labor, but when they finally got to the hospital it was only gas pain, and the family wished they did not have to go that far just for a minor problem. A 90-some year old ammachi (great grandmother) with tears in her eyes told me that this was the first time in her life that she was able to attend something like this in her town and she felt happy to know that there is hope for the future for other women in her village.
When the women came up to me and asked when I will come back to do this again and they liked it so much and they enjoyed the seminar, I knew then that what I did that day made a difference and it was all worth it for me. Most of all, it made an impact on their lives.
Heavy rain and high winds marked the day of the children’s seminar, but to my surprise, more than 50 kids attended, ranging from six to 16 years old. They were so eager to learn and participated with much enthusiasm. We covered dental and basic hygiene, physical activity and nutrition. The smiles on their faces and their excitement to participate in the games and to answer questions motivated me. The interest in their eyes to learn more things and even to answer some words in English told me that Profugo’s English Language School was helping them. I realized there is a great need for health and wellness seminars there in the village of Prashanthagiri. I can see the change this will bring to the community as a whole.