After a ten hour train ride, Bijaya and I arrived in Rourkela. The train ride was interesting, probably because I was very sick on it. I was surprised how long I slept though, in the top cot hugging my backpack. Tuesday morning, I toured the hospital in Rourkela. I visited the nursery and the pediatric intensive care unit where I saw many ”very underweight” infants. One child, born at just 26 weeks, was under the care of 2 nurses, 24/7, who were trying to keep the baby’s circulation going by massaging him.
After the tour, I attended a program for International Women’s Day. It was amazing seeing all these young girls on stage performing. The girls kept coming up to me and calling me older sister and shaking my hand. It was really sweet. That night, Bijaya and I walked to the park/zoo where every night they have a fountain show with lights to music. I forgot my camera, but it was entertaining. The guest room I stayed in was big enough to sleep at least 8 people with 4 parts to the room.
The next day, we went out into the field. There were 6 field workers and they were all so great. The first day is always a learning experience. They are trained on how to ask the questions, how to take measurements, etc. I didn’t think I could get attached to people in such a short amount of time, but they were the nicest and most efficient people, and I am very grateful I had the chance to meet and work with them. That night, some friends from the hospital took me to a mountain where we climbed to the top. The mountain divides the city in half. Industries are located on one side and people live on the other side so to keep the pollution from the steel plants away from living areas; however, people still live on the side where the pollution is. At the top of the mountain, there were two temples-one I was able to enter. The next night, we went on the other side of the mountain where another temple was.
Thursday and Friday were holidays and I was told I could not go out into the field on Thursday as they were afraid people would color me. The holiday they celebrate is called Holi, festival of colors, where they celebrate spring by coloring each other with a powder like substance. I played Friday when Dr. Satpathy from Rourkela took me out and about, and I became covered in colors! Though I hate having my face touched, it was a lot of fun :) I was told the powder would easily come off, but it stained my clothes and would not come out of my hair for days! But it was great seeing everyone hugging, telling each other Happy Holi, and tackling each other with colors. And then Dr. Satpathy and Mrs. Satpathy took me out to lunch. They were such a nice couple and Dr. Satpathy was very helpful throughout the week.
Saturday through Monday, I had the opportunity to go out into the field. I saw three different districts of the tribal people. Monday afternoon, I visited a primary school where Mrs. Satpahty works. Students were not in session, but I had the chance to speak with 8 teachers, all women, who were extremely nice.
Tuesday, I attended a mother’s meeting out in the village. Before that, I went to a tribal market. It reminded me a lot of Guinea, but a lot cleaner. The mother’s meeting was interesting. They talked about how they thought the probiotic study impacted their community, families, and children. After the meeting, I went to the JSS which is an institute of people’ education. They offer over 75 types of practice oriented vocational and technical courses.
I only have 4 more nights in Bhubaneswar before I leave for Mumbai. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by and all the amazing work that was completed by the field workers and everyone involved.