Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 4 - Mysore

Yesterday was the third day of our four day camp. I've got the instrument sterilization routine down pat now.

It turns out that the bible does say that god wants the Israelites to remove their "adornment," just as sister said. However, if you read the passage in context, it is clear that what god really wants is for the people to put aside their pride - god calls them a "stiff-necked" people - so he can see who they really are. I think this woman could safely wear jewelry without jeopardizing the purity of her soul. She brought her younger 16 year old daughter to meet me because she thought I was "so good." This was quite touching. Both of sister's daughters will go to college, studying computer science and engineering.

The clinic went very smoothly again. We saw 40 women. Unfortunately, we were unable to do a LEEP procedure. This is unfortunate because it makes it impossible to train the trainees on the procedure on a real woman. Training on a piece of meat is not quite the same. We have our fingers crossed that there will be opportunities tomorrow.

The special event of the day was an appreciation/networking buffet dinner PINCC sponsored for the trainees, supporting doctors, and health department officials. About 30 people came and we did the best we could to encourage the development of an in-country screening program based on our protocol.

I had two fascinating conversations during this event. The first was with a mother and daughter whose husband/father is one of the health officials. The mother had a professional job and the daughter was still in high school. This young woman was extraordinary. She spoke English as if she'd lived in England half her life, although her facility was all the result of Indian schooling. She has won several regional contests testing general knowledge, sort of like the kids in the spelling bee documentary. She has incredible poise. She plans to study physics or some other heavy science in college. At the end of the conversation her mom invited me to come visit her home, but alas there will be no time.

The second conversation was with one of the doctor trainees, Dr. Susshela. This woman was already trained in Puttaparthi, so she was able to assist Dr. Rhoda with the training in Mysore. She is devoted to the Sai Baba and volunteers every month at the hospital at the ashram, although she lives in Bangalore, a couple of hours away. She is a lovely woman very much at peace with herself. She explained that all the Hindu gods are aspects of one god, which I've heard before. She believes that the Sai Baba is an avatar of god. While we all have aspects of god in us, god comes through him as through a fire hose. He is 85 years old. Some years after he dies another avatar of god will be born and identified. A main event at the ashram is darshan, when the devoted gather in a covered space and wait for the Sai Baba to come among them. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't, as he is quite frail now. It is very important to see him and be in his presence so that you can feel his spirit. He can perform miracles, many of which involve getting roads, clinics and educational centers built. One should not wear black to darshan because black clothing blocks the spirit. Much of her motivation to service seems to come from her devotion. It was clear that she felt I could benefit by being receptive to the spirit of the Sai Baba. Deborah

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