It’s the final week, and I feel like I have barely touched the surface of India whilst also having had so many adventures and opportunities that I cannot wait to share with friends, family, and anyone who will listen upon my return to New Zealand. I don’t have any words good enough to express my gratitude for this opportunity. Thus, this blog/ photo dump will highlight some key things I will miss.
Doctors For You Internship
I will miss my internship at Doctors for you, a humanitarian organisation that works across India providing multi-disciplinary healthcare, dental, education, and emergency relief to communities in need. I feel so fortunate to have been based in the Lallubhai compound whilst also having the chance to work in the Mandala centre, Natwar Parekh centre and slum field camps. The opportunities to engage in maternal and antenatal clinics, (especially using the foetal doppler to hear unborn heartbeats); work with the TB clinics in both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant patients (plus learning about Nikshay and meeting local government); work in general outpatient clinics and attend and assist with slum camp programs; observe and learn from the dental teams (whilst seeing enough root canals for a lifetime); and become part of the physio and rehabilitation community has been such an honour. I am so grateful for the open arms that Doctors for you provided for me and know that the many lessons I have learnt here will contribute to my life and career in medicine.
All the flavour and all the food
I will miss the food; from morning jalebi with chai – yes, an utter sugar overload but boy, are you ready to approach anything work has to throw at you after a sugar rush like this. I will miss the ability to grab a mango lassi on the local streets where they are made fresh in front of your eyes and taste like the fruits of another world. I will miss joining friends to order a hundred dishes at the local chaat – especially pani puri. And perhaps most importantly, I will miss Mumbais vada pav, the best potato burger spice sensation you will put in your mouth!
The everywhere and anywhereness of animals in India
We learned last week what cows eat for breakfast, but have you ever wondered what cats eat for dinner? From my observations when walking the streets of Mumbai, is that cats eat biryani for dinner, specifically chicken biryani. I will miss all the animals of India; no matter where you go, day or night, some animal is living their best life in India. From the beautiful street cows to tiny fluffy squirrels within Forts, to biryani-eating cats, to the independent dogs taking themselves for evening strolls, and finally, one must not forget all the baby goats (especially in Govandi)
The daily adventures with my fellow PMSA recipients
This week a bunch of us made it to a morning fitness dance class, but this was no regular class. It was a high-energy, Bollywood-style dance class that tested my coordination and ability to stand upright. It was so much fun, and the Mumbikers within the class welcomed us all with open arms, some even helping us with demonstrations of the tricky moves within a set.
Forever something new to learn
I will miss learning in person in India, both from the sites I have been fortunate to visit and the people who have taught and shown me so much. This week I learned how to mix my very own fresh lime soda; I recommend going with a salty-sweet mix and then topping with Duke’s soda to your preferred strength. I had the chance to visit the Malabar Hill area, where I learned first-hand about the impact of pollution on local beaches. Additionally, in Malabar Hill, I explored the Banganga Tank, which is part of the Walkeshwar temple complex (4 Hindu temples that surround the body of water). Finally, on my last day in Mumbai I ventured to Dhobi Ghat where I learned about the large open-aired laundry that services the hotel and commercial industries of Mumbai. In reflection my mind feels overwhelmed with information whilst still feeling curious to learn and understand more.
The trains of Mumbai
The trains! On day one, I was told the thing I potentially feared the most would be the thing I would come to love and miss. The trains! I will miss my commute on the amazing public transport of Mumbai, the rushing air, the time to think, the passing by of communities, the occasional unintentional embrace with a fellow commuter, the carriage shopping, and the sunsets to chase.
My Family of India
Overall, the thing I will miss the most is the people. The people I am travelling with, the GCC team (Naveen and Mala), The team at YWCA who looks after us so well, my work colleagues at Doctors for you, and the patients I have worked with in the Govandi community.My ever-supportive roommate who listens to my day, good or bad, my guide through the Doctors for you internship, the YWCA team and my GCC & PMSA family. Thank you all for following me along on this life-changing journey, and thank you so much to the Prime Ministers Scholarship for Asia for this opportunity; I will be eternally grateful to have been a recipient of this award.