Our Mother Tounge is Love

While some of our doctors started seeing patients in Sub district hospital, others were directed to Primary Health Center in Ashtangoo. After an hour of drive, the team went through an uphill trek. Our team of doctors started patient diagnosis and disbursing the medicines. Soon we were directed to another area in plains – Ashtangoo ghat.

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When we arrived in Ashtangoo ghat, we saw a flock of people already waiting. Someone from the village offered their house for our medical camp. Soon the pharmacy table was setup for dispensing the free medicines.

None of our doctors except Dr Puneet could speak Kashmiri. But even he was struggling to speak in Kashmiri because he has been away from Kashmir for long now.

And I have to confess that though I hail from Kashmir, I too was finding it little difficult to translate things to Kashmiri. Even though most of our staff could speak hindi, not all local people could understand hindi.

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Everyone of us was putting their maximum effort in trying to communicate as best as possible. Soon some local ladies offered their help in translating. And that really helped a lot.
One of the mothers brought one small child who had a burnt leg. Soon after the first aid was applied and medicines provided, the child’s crying face turned serene. More than the child, the Mother seemed happier.

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In addition to our prescriptions and diagnosis, it was the caring words that were healing the wounds much more effectively. Even though initially it seemed somewhat difficult, but soon the barrier of language disappeared. The breeze of love removed the clouds of language barrier. The fact that Love knows no boundaries, just got more obvious.

Isn’t it quite amazing how people from so many different countries, speaking so many different languages are able to connect to Amma just like a child connects to its mother – without any formal language!

All of us realized that our only real mother tongue is Love, and where there is love, language is not a barrier.

At the end of the day we all felt deep satisfaction in being able to light some lamps of happiness. It was drizzling, and getting colder. But inside we felt warmth of Amma’s hug.

– Amit

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Kashmiri Nurses

Throughout Kashmir, we have been assisted by wonderful local volunteers. Few patients speak Hindi, so there is nearly always someone sitting with each doctor, translating to Urdu. They also help speed the flow at the pharmacy, where proper instructions are essential.

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At Community Health Center Magam, a cadre of nurses took a more active role. They obviously enjoyed working side by side with our lady doctors and took full advantage of the opportunity.

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Doctor Lipi is showing a group the A.I.M.S. Intensive Care Ambulance.

-Scotti

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Mobile Telemedicine Unit

The medical team in Jammu Kashmir with the Tele Medicine unit

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I have shown you earlier the blood testing that is done in the Mobile TeleMedicine Bus non stop during each Medical Camp.

EKG Heart Testing

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Packed in the same small space are many other diagnostic capabilities including:
Ultra Sound scanning for kidney stones.
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Dr. Maddipati would have technicians to do these tests for him at A.I.M.S., but here he performs his own scan.

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-Scotti

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Cow whisperers in Kashmir

Although he spends most of his time working in the pharmacy, Dr. Ratish is also our staff veterinarian. Many animals were lost in the floods and far more are severely stressed. A few find their way to our medical camps where expert help is provided.

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Seva with Amma transports us out of our personal comfort zones into a world of new possibilities. Our General Surgeon, Dr. Yuvaraj, is used to a sterile operating room. But here he gives his first B12 injection to a cow, while being very cautious not to get kicked.

-Scotti

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Swiss Cheese in Switzerland

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Food is often mentioned in reports from the Europe tour and it’s unavoidable as there is so much excellent organic food, and sharing food is so much a part of the social life and culture of Europeans. Despite eating well, Europeans are not overweight as a group and are seen biking, walking and running regularly. There is a culture of fitness and it reflects in both young and old.

The tour staff is well nourished by the devotees who provide three meals a day to keep them going during the long program days. On this tour we have been treated to several donations from local food growing ashrams and devotees, like jams, olive oil and olives from the Spanish ashram, more jams and organic apples in Germany and here in Switzerland, along with nuts, syrups and jams, Swiss cheese donated from a dairy 5000 metres up in the mountains. It was really touching that they would send a big wheel of cheese produced with so much work and care, and the cheese was very delicious.

The program in Winterthur is in a very lovely location, next to river and under a small mountain. It was a nice chance to get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature between programs. Balmy weather and an early arrival the day before the program saw most of the staff enjoying a chance to exercise and soak up some Vitamin D in the sun. Small kitchen gardens surround the hall where the program is held and the unusually warm autumn weather meant that many flowers and greens were still growing, along with the seasonal squash, pumpkins and cabbage.

We encountered some early morning gardeners and asked about their plots. It turns out that small pieces of land can be rented from the town for a nominal amount and the locals can grow their own flowers and vegetables as well as have a place to picnic. Many of them have constructed tiny huts, like playhouses, where they keep tools. They also collect the rain water from the roofs in barrels to use to water their gardens. They asked if we were from Amma and were interested when we told them how Amma is encouraging everyone to have kitchen gardens, grow organic produce and harvest rainwater. They then asked how they could meet Amma, something that hadn’t entered their minds before. It reminded us of how many routes Amma has created to form a relationship with her.

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The local volunteers and tour staff had an unexpected treat the night before the program when Amma made the surprise announcement that she would serve dinner. The kitchen scrambled to come up with something very quickly for many more people than expected to need dinner. We just had time to assemble before Amma arrived, beaming at everyone. She was shown a sample dinner plate and frowned, seeming to tell the cook it looked skimpy. He made a helpless gesture, like what can I do Amma. No time. However, people ran around and collected “donations” and more diverse items were added to the plate, like a small boiled potato, half a cookie, a cracker or a biscuit garnered from different stocks of provisions. Little Aikyam continued his adventures with potatoes as Amma peeled five small boiled potatoes one after another and fed them to him.
Amma asked for the usual spiritual jokes and stories and gave a short satsang on the importance of focusing on spiritual practices here and now and not procrastinating. She then sang “Guru Vani Vadi” and indeed how sweet are the Guru’s words. Refreshingly, there was complete silence at the end of the song and Amma sank into meditation along with roomful of people.

Amma also sang at the end of the second night of the program, an unexpected boon, as there is only one evening bhajan program in each city, as the first night is an all day and half the night continuous program and the final night is Devi Bhava. Some people at the very end of the darshan queue seemed to have very serious problems and perhaps that influenced Amma’s mood as she chose very deep and philosophical songs, rather than the rousing bhajans that are usually the evening finale.

Smiles mixed with tears as Devi Bhava ended. The sun looked like the moon shining through the thick mist that had descended into the little valley of Winterthur. After one last trip to the staff room for that Swiss cheese, bread, cucumbers and tomatoes for sandwiches, the group began the journey to Paris, where enthusiastic volunteers were preparing for the Sunday program that would be the biggest of the tour so far.

Rta S
Winterthur, Switzerland
Europe Yatra 2014

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Mobile Pharmacy in Jammu kashmir

Always working in cramped quarters, the pharmacy is our busiest department. Everyone is doing double duty as it is staffed by a dentist, veterinarian, nurse, doctor, and EMT. In addition to allopathic drugs, we are providing a large amount of nutritional support for both children and adults.

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The clinic shown above was held in a Shia Muslim prayer hall as the local hospital was flood damaged.

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Jayan (with mask) is our master traffic policeman, maintaining some order in the line.

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-Scotti

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Traffic jam in the mountains

The main road to Kashmir was closed for flood related repairs for three days creating a huge backup. Our medical convoy got stuck in a 75 km line of trucks.

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What should have been a five hour journey turned to the next camp turned into thirty hours. Stopped high in a mountain pass, it was 22 hours before our first meal.

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-Scotti

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