For some reason this post got lost and was never published, so two years later it’s finally getting it’s début!

During one of our last days at Help in Suffering, we saw our first case of tetanus. Tetanus is rarely seen in the UK as animals which are particularly sensitive to clostridium tetani (causative agent of tetanus) are vaccinated routinely against it.  It was quite a sorry sight to behold, the poor mare had contracted tetanus during the birth of her foal and was now lying with legs stuck straight out in front of her struggling to breath and twitching uncontrollably. In the UK, on the few rare occasions an animal does contract tetanus, we can work to try and save it using anti-toxin and round the clock supportive nursing, unfortunately in India, it’s a death sentence. It is a real shame that something so preventable is still causing such a problem, but education and attitude towards modern medicines in our experience was generally poor and the vets did not seem to be trained to be advocates for preventative medicine in the same way it is drilled into us at home.

horse, india
Luckily this horse brought to the clinic was fine

On happier topics, that afternoon, we went to get Beth’s sari blouse fixed and re-fitted ( in a previous blog post I explained that her rather substantial bosom had caused a few issues!). This caused a great kafuffle at the seamstresses, with all the women crowding round staring at Beth’s chest and tutting and pointing between incoherent (to us anyway) arguments. We were incredibly glad Ranjana had tagged along to help translate our point across as I fear we’d have definitely been lost without her!

Me, Beth and our fabulous ook during our time at Help in Suffering who helped us into our saris and somehow tamed the miles of material and made us look beautiful!
Photo copyright to Beth Dixon

We had planned to spend our evening sorting out our travel plans for the end of our holiday but as we were heading over to use the stone age dial up internet at the complex, we heard a shout from above….. One of the older compounders, Shamlal hollered down at us to come and meet his family (5 children, a wife and a father in-law living in a 3-roomed apartment!!) and of course, have chai. Feeling rude to refuse him we thought we’d go up for a chat for 10 minutes…. What actually happened was an evening of chaotic board games and a hoard of children emerging from all throughout the flat to come and play with us. There was an abundance of laughing, joking and a lot of shameless cheating! Shamlal, who was completely illiterate when he began working at help in suffering was incredibly proud of his children who were excelling in school and asked if we would help them with their English. I have to say an evening spent like this was much more up my street than one sat drinking with the younger men, trying to navigate inappropriate comments. The children cried in disappointment when they were told sternly by their mother that it was time for bed and that we had to leave and made us promise to come back the next day. Throughout my Indian experience, I can honestly say I hadn’t laughed as much or felt more genuinely welcomed  than with that family and those children!

help in suffering children

As our parting gift for the children, we bought them Twister. The children loved their battered old board game that had been sellotaped to within an inch of it’s life and we had genuinely had such fun playing with them. We figured twister was a good call as we’d grown up playing it ourselves and felt it had an easy concept to grasp so even the little ones would be able to play. It was remarkably sweet and incredibly well timed as it turned out to be one of the children’s birthdays today! They were all so excited but took incredible care over the game which I am confident they will cherish for a good number of years. They also all said thank you which after being surrounded by rude Indian men who think it’s their right to just receive things and that no thanks was ever necessary, it was music to our ears and just made us like the children more! What was even sweeter was they thought we’d just bought it them to borrow and tried to give it us back and when they realised it was a gift they immediately wanted to give us something in return. Instead we told them a nice picture of them all to take back to England was all we wanted so they posed excitedly for multiple photos quite happy with the condition we’d set. The same amount of money went into buying this game as it would a bottle of gin, this game will make a number of children happy time and time again while a bottle of gin keeps one of the alcoholic men happy until he reaches the bottom and demands another. I know which I’d rather spend my money on!  It’s been a bit of an up and down day but that really left us with smiles on our faces this evening.

Children at Help in Suffering

For more posts from our Indian adventures check out the link here …


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