Last night I was hit with the inevitable nausea that left me feeling weak and fatigued for our tour of the rehab center. I blame the hotel's pizza...sounded good at the time; so Thickheaded of me.  Despite not feeling my best, I did not want to miss out on a thing so I took some medication from Hanna (a pill made from Mumbai pharm that is taken to kill the bacteria causing travelers sickness) and continued on with the scheduled day.  On the bus ride to the rehab, I closed my eyes and fell asleep during the ride.  When I woke up I was confused by the lack of beeps of rickshaws and background noise I heard.  This place was set in a quiet, jungle area that was clean and full of beautiful wild life.   

We walked through the grounds and entered into a small room that was stinky hot.  The room was filled with patients and residents that had been waiting in the hot / humid room to meet and mingle with us.  We did not know this information at the time and I thought the patients stayed there all day.  I was happy to learn they did not normally sit there all day and also upset that I had not tried harder to speak with more people.  One women approached us, introduced herself, and asked if we could sing for her. I was confused by this so in our hesitation she took the chance to sing for us instead.

While we did not converse heavily with the patients, we had a lengthy and enlightening conversation with the doctor.  He had a calming quality in the way he spoke. On the hot/humid stage, we all crowded around the table he sat at and strained to listen to his low volume words ("low-talkers" is a common theme of the trip).  He asked us who we thought was mentally weaker- men or women?  Someone immediately answered women, which is what I was thinking too. He chuckled and politely told us that he disagreed.  In India culture, women are considered to be mentally stronger than men.  The women are expected to be the heads of a family at a young age and the emotional stability of the family unit.  I have taken classes at WCU that have told me the exact opposite as "norms" expected for men and women. 

He then discussed mental well-being and gave us a few gems to quote as follows:

"Your attitude determines your altitude"

"Two things you should never chase... peace and sleep for they should both come to you naturally."

Pain and grief were never his topic of discussion.  He gave the following scenario:

"If you are looking at a group photo, where are you going to look first? You are naturally going to look for yourself first.  Your looks triumph anyone or anything else in that picture.  It could be an award winning photograph, but if you look bad you are most likely going ask for it to be retaken.  No one else will care that your smile isn't dazzling but it will be bothering you that you do not look your best. This is how people view their problems in life.  The problem that person is experiencing is more important to that person than anyone else. "

- This is so important to remember, for myself as a future nurse and also in my everyday life.  Understanding his given scenario increases my empathy toward a "problem" that I personally might not think is a big deal but is a world-ending crisis to someone else.

He ended our talk with the following words:

"Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and the world cries with you."

" If you see someone with a smile give your own... because it is free!"

January 5, 2016 -- Perookada - Mental Health Centre

    This man wanted to sing for us at the clinic:



January 5, 2016 -- Abhayagramam - Rehab Centre