More trip journaling

Sept 3 Ganesh festival – Elephant Goddess

Woke up probably around 4 and determined I would not get up. Next thing I know… Joan came in at 7:45 and woke me up. Ugh, I could not wake up. We had a rice spaghetti noodle for breakfast with bean chili to go on it. And the usual 3-in-1 coffee (coffee, cream, sugar). We walked to Holy Spirit Hospital to meet with a nurse from yesterday but due to a communication glitch, she was not expecting us and was working. So we will return at 3:45.

1:45 now. We had lunch at the kabob place just outside our gate. It was very good, and air conditioned! Don’t I sound like a rich American snob? I wore my sari today… tore out one line of stitching on each side of the blouse so I could breath. It is so interesting how they sew the blouse with several lines of stitching so you can adjust the fit. The cook here at S_____ House helped me get it adjusted right.

help with the sari

The sweat was just running down my back as we walked to the hospital. The skirts were sticking to my legs so I had to use both hands to hold it away. But the shop owner at the stationary store told me I looked so much better today. I think when I went there the other day I was dressed in American clothes. So isn’t all the sweating worth it?

I got to see an elephant goddess- Ganesh- procession today while we were eating lunch. I’d heard so much about it and I wanted to see. I took video and several pictures. There were only men around the cart with the idol so I hesitated to get too close. Other men were taking photos, but I wanted to be careful. One man asked another to move so I could get a better picture, so I guess it was OK for a white woman to take photos. He had a large splash of red color on his forehead. Several of the band members and dancers around the idol also had red powder all over their heads and shoulders.

idol on push cart

idol on push cart

A___ came in and joined us for lunch. He told us you can buy the elephant god/goddess and even haggle about the price of the god. Ashok calls it “God for purchase”.

This morning at breakfast he told us the biggest women’s health issue was aborting the 3rd child if it is not a male. Family size is limited so the family will insist that an ultrasound be done, at great expense. Depression in women often follows. Or it may lead to “accidental”  in kitchen fires in which the woman dies. This is not a problem as much in Christian families.  We saw signs in hospitals that read, “The sex of the baby is determined by the father of the baby.” Trying to educated people that it is not the woman’s fault that she cannot have a boy child.

Friday, Sept 5, our last day in Mumbai. We went to visit the S___ A___ to learn about their HIV home for children, but actually saw a home for children of prostitutes. Then we went to ACTS – Association of Cx Thoughtfulness, the ministry that G____ works with at the HIV outreach ministry at A____ FMC.  We talked with the doctor, attended part of a Bible study with HIV affected men and women, bought material for another Punjabi from an HIV+ woman.

Sept 6 Sat 2008 Ahh, U___i! I’m back! Horray! Every new day your glory unfolds!

It’s so green! It looks like a different place from when I was here in February. And it’s much hotter!

sign at Umri Hospital

sign at Umri Hospital

We had a tour of the hospital, and it was hopping – quite a contrast to when we were last here. There were 14 inpatients and many people sitting around waiting for the outpatient clinic to open.

Sept 7, Sun early am. I awakened early and the power went off about 6 am so the fans stopped and it got warm lying in bed. As I sit here in “my rocker” on the veranda I can enjoy the peace and tranquility, although the crows are doing their best to make a racket. Roosters are crowing and several other birdcalls are heard. But the best thing is the quiet background because the loudspeakers from the temples in the village are silent. I know they don’t play all day, but it seems to be a constant droning in the background.

Thank you Lord Jesus for these moments of peace. I love you. I want to live all out for you. Show me what that means today. I need your Holy inspiration for what to share in church this morning. Do you have any message I can bring to your people here in the church in Umri?

Sun. bedtime.  Well, you helped me greatly this morning… thank you, Thank You. I spoke on Ephesians 4:1-6.  I need to count on your help for teaching tomorrow because I am not looking forward to it.

Today we did church, had a baptism, took photos, ate lunch, chatted, prep for women’s meeting at 4 p.m. tea, tried to call Mitch but he couldn’t call me back, prep for tomorrow. Meet with Dr. P. Supper, meet with Amirson and Esther. Washed out clothes. Ready for bed.

Sept 9 Having trouble keeping track of the days. I am especially foggy this morning. Tomorrow I am bringing devotions for the hospital staff. Lord, give me words to speak. You were faithful to me on Sunday. I will keep my faith in you to give me your word for the staff and the nursing school.

I feel a cool breeze, must be raining nearby. Lord, send more rain. My Indian bro and sisters need more rain. Yeah, it is raining.

Sept 11 Thurs.

  see the guy on the van?

Waiting for the car to be secured for transport to Yavatmal. We’ve been ready for an hour but after they piled all the suitcases on the vehicle, they had to come up with a tarp as it looks like rain, and then a rope to secure it. Praise God we had lots of rain last night. I just went for a walk out to the front of the hospital compound and took pics of the water buff mowing the lawn.

I love the water buffalo

I love the water buffalo

September 12  Yot…mal My what a full day. We had great discussion after breakfast about our trip – starting to wrap up. Then the retreat from 10 – 4, the Dean of the Medical College attended along with head of the Pediatrics, and microbiology. 2 matrons (head nurses) from the Medical college also.

Our seminar was followed by a tour of a hospital. Wow! Overflow patients on the floor, 30 – 60 patients for 1 nurse. No nursing assistants or MPS – multipurpose workers, which they have in the rural areas. Spit staining every wall in the hallways from the hip down. ICU with one patient and spouse, but no nurse!

Then a tour of a private hospital and what a dramatic contrast. Only 6 patients/room. Many semiprivate rooms and deluxe and even super deluxe (private room with air conditioning I think). We met with the hosp administrator and received flowers. They were taking photos of us non-stop. It was something. The nurse that took us on the tour was attending our retreat and was so proficient. She seemed well respected.

September 13 Sat

Another day of seminar. Helene’s on today with “What do you value about nursing”. Kalpana just gave us all a necklace! The Bombay lady gave me bangles, yesterday Kavita gave me the necklace off her neck… how embarrassing! It is beautiful but I learned my lesson… do not directly complement on anything! I knew that…

Praise the lord, once again the rain followed tea time so we could take tea out in the courtyard.

These were the responses were to my presentation yesterday.

What do you do in your church that promotes health?

Grow in faith, build ourselves up spiritually, pray for each other

Lift spirits with songs and worship

Reach out to children without parents at hostels and orphanages

Helping out in disaster areas

Caring for the needs of the poor, beggars

Check blood pressures, blood sugars, in homes of church people

The sound of the band outside was so loud it drownded out the person speaking on the microphone. When we were here in Feb is was also festival time with the loud speakers in the street playing constantly. How does India get anything done with all the festivals?

Joan and I both remarked that our hands feel dirty all the time.

Sunday September 14

Surprise at church this morning… Danny, our interpreter from Umri was the preacher. He was full of it. I probably could have heard him from my bed in our house down the street. The service was not in English, but the children’s skit was. We brought greetings, of course. We were brought up front and introduced and presented with flowers. Helene preached a sermon 🙂 and I spoke about Parish Nursing. I now see how I should have taken more opportunities to mention Parish Nursing…. Give me your mind, O Lord.

I tried to learn some Maranthi. They sang Savior like a Shepard and I picked up some of the chorus, Blessed Jesus…Mayo Jesu, donya Jesu; bi-ti ya ee- wy___ ___.

I asked Jos about the program the govt has to protect female births. If a mother has one girl child and gets a tubal, the govt deposits Rs. 4000 (about $100)  for the girl’s education which she receives when she reaches 18. If a woman delivers a second girl child and has a tubal, each girl receives Rs. 2000 deposit. If a boy child is born, nothing is granted. This policy has been in effect about 10 years.

Monday we flew to New Delhi to see another face of India. We drove past the place where some of the bombing took place last Saturday.

Tuesday we took a 4 hour car ride to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. It was spectacular.


Red Fort

Red Fort

Then I came home…

Welcome home Mimi
Welcome home Mimi


Looking back…

We all arrived home safely and on schedule with bags intact. I’m still suffering jet-lag, but it is good to be home. 

I will enter some of my journals from the trip that I was unable to post from India.

Sun. Aug 31 4:40am India, (7:20 pm US); Ramblings from a jet lagger… Had a great morning yesterday. Met with Moses and his wife, Rekha, a nurse, Pastor Sanjay and his wife nurse Malini, nurse Kalpana, and nurse Sharda. All very impressive women and men.  We had a great time of planning. Last year they had their first nurses’ retreat with 73 attending. This year they are planning for 100! Whew! Help us Lord. They suggested speaking on keeping balance in life but were very interested in what we explained about Parish Nursing. They had a schedule for the day printed out and we just needed to fill out who is doing what.

            The local church did have a clinic every Saturday, and an evening Bible college has been started.  They have done medical camps Moses told us, but I can’t remember any details. I’m so glad there are three of us to help remember details. Sunday at 1:00 pm they serve a meal to the street children from outside the church and talk to the adults about Christ. It will be exciting to see that.

            Following our planning meeting we went shopping for Punjabi outfits. I bought one for Rs. 949 (a party dress with sparkles) and I was measured for my blouse for my sari. Many stories could be told about the trip… they served us tea in the shop, they had to close shop because the govt was demolishing the canopy above the shop entrance due to illegal vendors, delicious food at a restaurant the tailor took us to but he didn’t stay to eat. He came back when we were done and took us to his shop.

            The call to prayer just started over the loudspeaker at 5:10 am. And it is loud! So I prayed.

I laid down for a while to see if I could sleep sans success. Now 6:15 am.

I need to write about our tour of the hospital. Sharish’s wife, Ujwala, took us to the place she works. She works in the “Casualty Dept.” (Emergency) so we went there first. There was a female MD there who spoke to us for about 10 min. Interesting. I was feeling slow but Joan asked some very good questions. Then we visited other wards in the hospital. There are no screens on any windows, but Joan was quick to comment that it was nice and airy, which it was due to large overhead fans.

            From the Casualty dept we went up on a rickety old elevator (Hospital built in 1977!) to the 3rd floor which is the women’s floor. First to the 30 bed surgical ward that was about half full. A couple women had IVs. There was one nurse and 2 servants. Ujwala seemed apologetic when she said they were called servants. But Joan made it right by saying, “they serve”. In each ward the meds were in small plastic jars that were labeled on the cover. I wish I could have taken photos but they said no. We went to the medical ward, again 30 beds, ¾ full. And to the OB where there were a handful of mom’s and babies. Peds had about 5. There are no men nurses in this hospital, but I think she said there are some. We also went to the mens’ ward where they have female nurses and male servants. Everyone was very gracious to us. Uj introduced a couple nurses as her good friends, sister, Christian. She seemed to be well respected by all. We went to the surgery dept where there were a few men who appeared to be on call. One may have been a MD.

            After the tour we went to eat at Pizza Hut which was a loud, busy place. Had delicious pizza with goat meat, cheese, cilantro. The other pizza was chicken supreme that Sharish and Uj ordered. Both were very good but of course I liked the one with cilantro. I took a photo of our drinks. I ordered Lemonade with Marsala, a spice the waiter talked me into. It was very unusual. I tried to think of what to compare it to but couldn’t. H&J had green mango drink which was very sour and salty.

            After we returned about 10 pm we had devotions together and talked for an hour. Ephesians 3. Sleep came quickly but didn’t last long.

            I have the fan on so fast that it drowns out the noisy crows. Lots of interesting bird calls. Indian kookoo sounds like a monkey. I went up on the roof at dawn to see. Lots of trees on the grounds block the view. Guess I’ll go see what H is doing. I’m hungry. Didn’t eat too much last night… didn’t want to have indigestion, which I didn’t.  Ate a lot at lunch. Really good.

Ecc 11:1 Cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you. 

Sept 2 Phew! Our first day nurse retreat is done. I thought I was well prepared, but my presentation was too short. They wanted/needed more information about Parish Nursing, asking a lot of questions afterwards. I must do a better job preparing for the next retreat. Tonight Joan and I talked for an hour or more, getting acquainted. The fire works for the Ganesh Festival (Hindu Elephant Goddess) kept making me jump. I went up and saw them from the balcony… fireworks over Mumbai. I was up at 4:20 this morning which I needed to be to prepare for today. The retreat went very well. Helene did a great job with her presentation getting the nurses discussing what they value in nursing. Joan did well with her devotional and other general helping. She is really good at engaging the nurses and pastors in conversation.

All the nurses were so great in their participation. I was really surprised when the first nurse stood up to give her small group report. She introduced herself, spoke clearly and distinctly and finished promptly. The following group reports also went very well. They also presented a skit about the difference a Christian nurse makes in practice. I could understand it even without an interpreter. They seem to like skits.

They concluded with a special recognition of the retired nurses presenting them with a shawl. Then they presented us with a shawl, putting it over our shoulders. 100% wool. It was hot.

they presented us with shawls

they presented us with shawls

Joan and I walked down the street a couple blocks to Domino’s and brought back pizza for supper. Joan thoughtfully put the leftovers on Ashok’s door. He came up to thank us when he returned from Ambernath. He took the local train which was so crowded that you couldn’t breath. And it was HOT today. I wish I’d brot my thermometer.

Must go to bed. So much more I should have written.



Our major responsibilities are over. We finished the last seminar today, then went shopping. Ha! The seminars went well… we learned a lot, and hope they learned a little. Ashok has been so helpful.
Everyone has been so kind to us. I’ll be spoiled when I get home. My family will have to bring the food and set it before me, pick up the plates as soon as I’m done, offer to carry my bag if we walk anywhere, and give me spontaneous gifts….
Yesterday we had 2 hospital tours that were a real eye-opener. Some wards had 30 beds with patients on the floor, children sleeping in bed with their mom, and only one nurse. And sometimes that nurse had to take 2 wards! That would be 60 patients. In ICU there was one patient but no nurse. The large overhead fans kept the air circulating.
The other hospital was private and just opened May 25. Bright, clean, 6 bed wards, some deluxe rooms (2 people) and one had the sign on the door, super deluxe rooms – I think those rooms had air conditioning. The walls were clean as there were signs on the wall, “No Spitting”.  After we saw the hospital we were ushered into the Hospital administrator’s office and treated royally! First they served us water, then coke, then tea! oh, and then we were given flowers! 
It’s late. So much to learn. Church tomorrow. I will miss all my newly made friends. Thanks again for your prayers and keep praying!



The next 2 days we will be having the retreat in Yavatmal. They have done an excellent job preparing.
Salima, the cook at the Umri guest house and the mother of my 2 sponsor children cried, sobbed, today when I left. Her husband shed a few tears too, at a later time.

No illness yet. It is very hard to find time, electricity, and internet connection all at the same time. I’ll have to keep writing on my computer and put entries on the blog when I get home… if I can find the time then. I need to prepare for class. Keep praying! I’m counting on the prayers.


Hello Family and Friends, Yes, we arrived on schedule and I finally
have found a cyber cafe. This is my first time using one, I have half
hour so we will see what happens. The sweat is running down my back.
The work is going very well. We are all impressed with the team they
have put together.

Tomorrow we have fasting and prayer for the nurses
retreat on Tuesday. They hope for 100 to come!
We need to know the needs of the people. Helene says we are well and
compatible. Hopefully there will be more opportunity to communicate in
the next few days. The weekend was very busy with church services and
planning meetings. Our plans are coming together well.

Photos of India

I think I’ll put some photos of India on so you can see the friends I’m returning to see in India. And I hope it will help with praying for me.

Moses and Mitch

Moses and Mitch

This is Superintendent Moses with Mitch. When we were there, he had just been elected. He was in charge of the International Childcare Ministry for all of India. He traveled with us to the boys hostel. He is a sincere, caring Christian man. 

When we were observing the ministry to HIV affected people at our FM church in Mumbai, Moses was consulted by a mother of two young boys. She was concerned about what would become of her boys when she could no longer care for them. Her husband had already died of AIDS. I saw tears in her eyes as she spoke to him and thought she was crying because Moses was not able to take the boys into the already overcrowded boys hostel. But they were tears of relief, because he would take them. 

I did write about this on Feb 18, if you want to check in the archives. I forgot.

Here’s Mitch with Ashok, the conference administrator. He and his wife Nalini, a nurse, will be coordinating our nurses retreat in Yavatmal.


Dear Friends,                                                                    August 2008

God has blessed me with another opportunity to travel to India. This trip seems designed especially for me: parish nursing and missions. When I was in Umri, India in February I felt in my heart I wanted to return but I didn’t know what I would do. Now there is work for me to do. Shortly after returning home I learned of a trip being planned for nurses to go to India. I treated it as an open door that I was willing to enter if God allowed.

             Here is a proposed outline of what is currently planned. We will leave August 28. The first weekend we will be holding a retreat for nurses in our Free Methodist churches in Mumbai (Bombay) to introduce them to Parish Nursing and work with them to find what parish nursing looks like in the Indian culture. From there we will spend a week in Umri, where our Free Methodist hospital, church and schools are. At Umri we will gather information to establish a sustainable and meaningful partnership in the ministry of health. In the past we have had a thriving work at Umri Hospital and much work is being done for Umri to once again be a strong beacon of light in central India. After our week in Umri we will hold a second retreat in Yavatmal, with nurses from our two churches in that city. We will depart from Delhi and I will arrive in Rochester on September 17.

             India is a complex country undergoing rapid change. I have been reading a lot of books trying to get a grasp of the history and culture. When thinking of our project, I am sometimes overwhelmed. I very much need your prayer to help me mentally, spiritually, and physically on this venture. And I may need special wisdom to learn to put on a sari.  

Of course all plans are dependent on God continuing to provide. You can join this venture with financial support. Each retreat will cost $1,000 – $1,500. I believe my friends can help us to raise that money. I plan to pay for my own travel so all money you contribute will go to projects in India. If you would like to see this mission accomplished, I will be grateful for your prayer and financial support. Money is being accepted at Northgate Free Methodist Church. Please write “Umri Missions” on the memo line.

We also plan to take used Nursing textbooks and journals less than 5 years old, blood pressure equipment, stethoscopes, an otoscope and an ophthalmoscope. If you could contribute any of those items, please contact me. 585-343-1469

            Thank you for joining me in this trip. I plan to track my travels here on my blog. 

Lynn SueWith nursing students at hospital