Our second day here was our “medical” day.  It was probably the day most filled with anticipation as well as trepidation.  To be in the midst of these people so afflicted and outcast from society (the “untouchables”) and to be able to reach out to them and smile at them, wash their feet, bandage their gaping ulcers was an experience that’s rough to find words to describe. So I’ll let the pictures tell most of the story. When we arrived at the colony we set up all the medical equipment.2012-07-23 India 56735 Here are some of the medications they give to help the patients:2012-07-23 India 56737 This girl in the green below is the summer medical supervisor.  She is amazing.  2012-07-23 India 56747From the way she oriented us all and made us feel comfortable to how kind and sweet she was to the patients, to being able to organize the supplies and work with the medical professionals was pretty impressive (all the volunteers here are pretty darn amazing I must say). Here we are, all oriented, ready for the patients to come. That’s the doctor behind us. 2012-07-23 India 56744She was grumpy…even Dave couldn’t get her to crack a smile. Here’s our friend Brynne with the first patient, making him feel so welcome.  She’s a nurse and a natural…what a great person to have help Max feel more at ease (you can tell he kind of needed it 🙂2012-07-23 India 56751 Elle and Dave manned the blood pressure and glucose station.  2012-07-23 India 56752 They way they jumped right in was pretty impressive I must say.  Elle had to prick the fingers to get a blood sugar reading and man alive, I don’t know if I could have done that.2012-07-23 India 567532012-07-23 India 56754 Max was about the best foot-washer I could have ever imagined.  2012-07-23 India 56757 Seriously, let’s just bask for a minute in that expression, making sure he’s not hurting anything.2012-07-23 India 567582012-07-23 India 56759 After the patients had their feet washed and oiled with medication, this nice nurse and I were in charge of the station where she cut out all the dead skin around the ulcer and I bandaged it up.2012-07-23 India 56779 The ulcers eat away at the skin and eventually cause the loss of digits and limbs. At first I thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle it.  I mean, some of these ulcers are gaping and quite gruesome.  But after the calm nurse took care of the first patient I was ok.  I wish I had a picture of her.  She is also a house mother here at Rising Star. Most of the time cutting away the skin around the ulcers doesn’t hurt…the skin is so deadened but sometimes you can see the pain in the way the patients wince.  You can kind of tell from the side that this lady is in pain.  She’s holding tight to the cross around her neck.2012-07-23 India 56789 Max also did eye drops.  Eyesight is one of the first things to go and these drops apparently help a lot.2012-07-23 India 567612012-07-23 India 56765 Everyone is in love with Jake (our new neighbors’ cute son).2012-07-23 India 568002012-07-23 India 56802 After we packed up there were some lingering people outside the clinic. I loved that they let me take pictures of their faces.2012-07-23 India 568082012-07-23 India 568092012-07-23 India 56810 As you can tell, they don’t like to smile in pictures, but their smiles are huge when you show them the picture after you take it.2012-07-23 India 568112012-07-23 India 56815 My favorite part of the day was trying to get them all to smile.2012-07-23 India 56812Is he cute or what? And when Elle went down the line and gave them all high-fives.2012-07-23 India 568162012-07-23 India 56819 And I loved when they waved goodbye to us…some with fingers, some with stubs.2012-07-23 India 56826 …with happy smiles on their faces and new bandages on their feet.2012-07-23 India 568242012-07-23 India 56827 I took pictures of some of the houses as we drove away. They made me wonder about the people who live there. I wonder how many times this poor house has been patched up after a big storm:2012-07-23 India 56830 And how they got paint for this house:2012-07-23 India 568312012-07-23 India 56833 It is so crazy to see satellite dishes outside some of the houses:2012-07-23 India 56837 Driving around is awesome because man alive you sure see a lot. (The colonies are a ways away from the school.)  2012-07-23 India 567332012-07-23 India 567322012-07-24 India 56842 This looks like their local 7-11:2012-07-24 India 56845 And maybe this would be an equivalent to Staples:2012-07-24 India 568462012-07-24 India 56848 There are these little “temples” all over…see it behind those motor rickshaws?2012-07-24 India 56849 The men usually look like this:2012-07-24 India 56854 And the women are always dressed beautifully…clean and colorful in their flowing dresses:2012-07-24 India 56878 We stopped on the way home for “parota” which are these little fried bread tortilla things.2012-07-24 India 56859They were really good. Elle, true to form, was more interested in the 7up.2012-07-24 India 56855 I loved to watch this guy serve up some great curry on banana leaves.2012-07-24 India 56867 …and I wonder what in the world that cobwebbed thing hanging from the roof is?2012-07-24 India 56856 We also stopped in the “junction” for ice cream.2012-07-24 India 56874 Taking it all in.2012-07-24 India 56877 And back “home.”  2012-07-24 India 56880Check out that address above.  Crazy huh? When we got back to campus, it happened to be time for the “Star Store.”  2012-07-24 India 56883 The Star Store is so awesome because it teaches ownership.  The kids earn stars during the week for good behavior and then get to “spend” them on different trinkets in the Star Store for a reward.  Anything that is donated to Rising Star goes to the star store so it is earned, not just given.  I’m a little biased as to how great it is because my brother and his wife started it when they were here.  Yeah, they are pretty smart 🙂 The kids line up like this forever to each get their turn in the store:2012-07-24 India 56890 I can’t believe I still haven’t written about Krishnamoorthy.  (Who we claim as our "Indian Son” at Rising Star). We actually first saw him at church. (He is one of a very small handful of the kids who are LDS).  Elle turned around at church and recognized him from his pictures right off the bat.  He came right up to us after the meeting and I think I scared him half to death with how excited I was. It was great to hang with him back on the campus.  Max and Elle got to know him pretty well.  He is such a great kid.  Here we are in the Star Store with him:2012-07-24 India 56885 I loved this quote they had up on the wall:2012-07-24 India 56888 We love free-play time in the evening.2012-07-24 India 56895 I am so in love with these sweet girls.2012-07-24 India 568932012-07-24 India 568982012-07-24 India 56899 This one was smart as a whip in math.2012-07-24 India 56894 This is Miranda, the education coordinator volunteer, with one of the boys.  She just barely graduated from high school and is so mature I can hardly believe it.  The kids adore her.2012-07-24 India 56905 2012-07-24 India 569252012-07-23 summer 56684 They were so excited to show us their double and triple jump rope skills.2012-07-24 India 569362012-07-24 India 56939 Hopscotch: 2012-07-24 India 56941 …and another dinner on the roof.2012-07-24 India 56947 I went to bed dreaming of these sweet people:2012-07-23 India 56820 …and how they changed our lives for the better because they let us into theirs for a day.

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  1. oh man this makes me miss that place so so so much. the star store looks amazing! it has come a long way. it is really magical there, isn't it? i love the picture of max with those beautiful people and that lady has her hand on his. it is an incredible experience washing those feet. it's amazing how you go from disgusted to endeared, right?? love you.

  2. Nice Shauce! This is so fun to see! Have you had a chance to go in and check out how Imagine Learning is going? I will email you about it. Really though, isn't that place amazing? You can see the LIGHT in every one of those people. Take some videos of the kids head bobbing and talking, those are my favorite things to look back at.

  3. I'm loving these India posts. I'm so glad/amazed you have access and time to do stuff like this while you're still over there! Keep doing amazing work 🙂

  4. Hi Shawni!

    This is April and Alia.

    We just read all three of your blog posts and we're so excited to hear about the experiences that you are having. Thank you for taking the time to write and share about your experiences!

  5. These posts are amazing. Brings tears to my eyes every time. Your Max washing their feet and then with that cute little lady who had her hand over his. What an amazing experience for your family. Time to start stashing away some dollars to do this with my littles when they are older!

  6. WOW, You and your family are so inspiring, I have loved reading about your India trip, keep up the good work, the pictures tell it all!!

  7. WOW, You and your family are so inspiring, I have loved reading about your India trip, keep up the good work, the pictures tell it all!!

  8. oh wow, how do you not just cry? Those pictures of helping with the bandages-make me cry just looking at them… and now just thinking about those sweet people….
    what an amazing experience for you and your kids, I need to get my kids to read about this, truly amazing… so humbling, and for sure something they'll never forget.
    I would love to be able to experience something like that with my family- thank you so much for sharing, and the great pictures, those girls, oh I could feel their sweetness…
    ps. if you do end up with lice, most of my students had it, most of the year this last year,(I taught in a native private school, where they it runs rampant and aren't sent home for it) I know some great tricks- the shampoos don't work so well and are expensive… let me know…
    enjoy! Thanks again for sharing.

  9. I am in tears. I have been battling two years of constant headaches. I came home from the doctor today with no hope whatsoever. This disease has taken my life. Thank you for sharing these photos. I am feeling blessed and I do know that I have much to be grateful for.

  10. Ah it's so great to back to the internet and see these amazing pictures! LOVE the expressions on the kids' faces, not to mention the amazing people they are serving! I recognize so many of the kids, but what a difference two years makes! Awesome!

  11. shawn, these pictures are awesome. i love the experience you are all having, together. your kids are carving out huge chunks of themselves, making them able to hold so much more depth. you can see it in their faces.

    i can't wait for the day I can share those deep experiences with my kids!

  12. What a life changing journey!! You are a gift to them as much as they are to you! Keep making a difference one foot at a time. Can't wait to hear tomorrow!!!!

  13. Wow! That is so awesome! I want to do that someday. I am a friend of Sarens and live in O-town but I am moving to Gilbert soon! My sister Emily that you know told me today that they have flights as cheap as $40 in December on the new Alliant Ogden-Mesa route that starts in September FYI…but I guess Saren would probably be wanting to visit you that time of year instead of visa versa!

    I LOVE the portraits you took of the people. Stunning.

    And I like those outfits…I think you should start a new trend in the AZ…I'll join in:)

  14. What a beautiful day! You just no help the people in India, thanks to your blog, you also help other people elsewhere by sharing your experience. I absolutely adore todays post!

  15. Each year my family sends care packages and money towards "the untouchables"..while we have never (before today) have seen pictures of the actual individuals.. this just sheds a whole new light and perspective on things… What an amazing opportunity to serve these wonderful people, who don't even consider themselves worthy.. when they are!!! God bless each of you as you are serving the wonderful people in India!! We serve a Mighty God!

  16. So, so very touching Shawni to see this level of compassion and love being given to those in need. I can't even imagine how humbling this experience must be for you and your family. I agree with Sarah….you must be so proud of your children. These are life-changing experiences that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Truly inspiring!

  17. Wow….I'm speechless! Amazing pics AND stories! I hope to be able to go on this type of trip in the future….I'm sure it's life changing and an experience you can't even put into words. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Wow. This post had me in tears. What a fantastic experience you guys must be having and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Max is using this as his Eagle project. That alone gets me all choked up.

  19. Shawni,
    Made me tear up! Life changing isn't it? It should be mandatory that every teenage American spend a week there…so happy you are experiencing Rising Star!

  20. I absolutely adore the picture of Max where the Elderly women is graciously touching his hand and looking at him with such kindness and love in her eyes. It makes my heart smile.
    What a great experience for you and your family.. thank you for sharing.

  21. first time commenter, long-time creeper. 🙂
    this trip is amazing, and brings me to tears how tender and loving those volunteers are, doing so much good for these people that they cannot do for themselves! i love everything that is being done, I love all of the fantastic and colorful pictures, and your adorable kids just eating the whole experience up.
    Seriously, I am amazed.
    Love your blog. Love your parents, love your family. Thank you for being such a great example for good.

  22. Wow! Love these pics! So full of emotion — tears are streaming. Thank you for documenting all your adventures – seriously one amazing trip! How incredible it must be as a mother to experience your children serving and loving. So glad you get to treasure up these moments in your heart. Thanks for sharing!

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