Tuesday, May 31, 2005

off to Darjeeling

Going to spend a couple days in the mountain with my team on a little debrief...will right something very soon...

Jam

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Number 38

One of the reasons I feel this way about Jesus is because of the man who lives at Kalighat. He is patient "number 38" and he's been there for over a year and a half. When I first saw him I remmbered him from last year and was shocked to find out that he was still here...He made a hard request that he just wants to die. He has found no purpose in life after the stroke.

It made me flash to everything that I have done in my life in the past 9 months: finishing school, got a job - and several in between, travelling and working in over 4 countries in the past 5 months... and then there is this man who simply hasn't moved a couple metres in a year...physically and mentally...

I am so confused by the craziness of it all that I don't know what to say or do...
But simply ask the question...why is this allowed to happen? Where is this Jesus guy everyone talkes about and if God is in control then why allow this to happen? If God is not in control then it's not God's fault and somethings are just beyond him?

Lost and confused
Jam

I simply don't understand...where is Jesus?

Before you read this post, I wanted to make it know..I am not Christian, Hindu or Islamic. I have friends who are extrememly religious and some that really don't give a shit about God. I am in between...I love the Bible and God but really really hate religion, it's been this way for over 5 years and I one day I hope to "grow" up in it all.

Today I heard a disturbing scream and Kalighat and on the way to investigate I found my friend "stumpy" in pain. There is a new HOLE in his right arm that the hospital doctors put in him before they sent him back to Kalighat. Well this new nurse is actually doing a pretty good with the bruises on his arm, yesterday the Japanese nurse didn't quite clean the wound and I had to step in to help cuts off certain infected skin. The nurse today was really getting in the wound and was seriously concerned about this patient - hence the pain. While he was screaming, my hands were on his knees praying to my God and hoping this his God answers....

But in the midst of all his screaming I wondered where is Jesus? Why is he still in pain? He doesn't look even one bit comforted by my prayers...but in some serious pain...

It's funny how Jesus shows up at certain moments, like today as we wanted to catch a bus back to the Sudder Street area, the first bus we saw happened to be the right one. There was Jesus, according to the travellors I was with...
I got back to the hotel and we had some really good food, he was with us for lunch because someone prayed...we ate good because of Jesus.

But where was he when "stumpy" was around in pain? Does the christian Jesus exist for people like him? It should but I guess not today...I feel really powerless knowing that something could be done but instead there is nothing happening...it's not practical at all....I am so confused and hurt by all of this...

Jam

Thursday, May 26, 2005

cost of raping a life....

After I left the internet cafe yesterday I was approached by a man on Sudder Street that I haven't seen before. Now after staying on Sudder Street for almost 3 weeks you tend to recognize everyone who is there or should be there, you get a weird vibe when you see someone who doesn't belong in the area.
Well this man started to whispher something about women to me and I just kept walking. I stopped myself and wondered what is the price? As soon as I stopped it was like inviting the whole street to my conversation as people appeared out of nowwhere and stood beside me listening to the prices.
This old man with no front teeth said this to me in PERFECT english...which made me wonder how man times this sad conversation has taken place...
1000Rs [30cdn] for one women
and 5000 Rs [120 cdn] for a child. He said the last part while street kids were playing right behind him...

I told him this isn't for me my friend and he should find a better line of work and simply walked away...

What I should have done was grab him by the shirt and said how far do you want my indian sandals to go up your ass?

I guess I just don't have the guts... 4months in kolkata in total and some things still shock me...
5000rs [120cdn]for a kid, someone is going to get abused and it's sad that the outcome is going to be the child.

Jam

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

3 1/2 days in bed

I spent the past 3 1/2 days in bed, I honestly don't remmber the last time that has happened. Apparently through this whole ordeal I have had an allergic reaction to the hot weather and pollution, plus if you add my sinus cold [which I found out I had for the first time in my life two days] it made one nasty bug. Yesterday I started to take some medicine for it and....wait did you say medicine?

My friends and family are probably trying to figure out a way of contact me right now , to find out if I am REALLY okay or if the cold has seriously affected my brain.

I don't take medicine, it's not because I hate it. It's because I believe that my body can heal itself and that we can rely tooo much on medicine as a permanent cure.

Well the doctor I went to two days told me the exact thing and gave me a series of long natural workouts and some drugs. This is the list:

Nose drops: 2-3 times a day
Gargle Warm water: 2-3 times a day
Hot water steam cleansing: 2-3 times a day. This technique is sooooo amazing that I volunteered the activity as a team event last nite. We all ended up sitting around the table inhaling hot vapour fumes and listening to some chilled music, it was a good team building experience.
1 Allegra everytnite: I don't like taking this tablet as it is made by the evil aventis corporation but so far it has no ill effects excepts bad speaking and speling.

Total time for all of this 1hr +

Getting well must be a big business.

Jam

Book that I am currently reading....

One of my chai friends on Sudder street also happens to be the locally owner of a bookshop and recommended a couple books for me to read.

Tales of a female nomad: The story about a woman who had it all in L.A. and decided that life wasn't fullfilling enough. She packed up and hit the road - not to travel but to live with people around the world. Really honest and sincere, she lives the life that most of us are too scared to even dream about. Including me.

Jam

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Very sick...

For the past two days I have been in bed with a serious cold, headache, fever and a very very bad cough. I hate being sick but it's part of reality. I started to wander around sudder street about 1/2hr ago and I still feel terrible.

A couple notes:

Cindy Happy Birthday - you know wherever in the world I am at - you are always in my heart. I love you siste'

On some fluff moments:
Saw star wars --- man I could have combusted in my seat it was sooooo good.
Best line ever was when Anakin said to Obi "If you are not with me, you are with the enemy" Obi replied "I don't deal with absolute truth" then the light saber battle of all time started. I swear I almost lost ten years of my life and I don't think I have a reason to go to the cinema anymore.

On another hard moment: My friend "stumpy" the male patient that had his fingers amputated - sorry for the joke but if you don't make humor at this place you can lose it quickly. I was massaging him on friday when I noticed some puss leaking from a small wound, on closer inspection I found it to be a dog bite and I quickly called the nurse over. She anazlyzed the bite and was really confused and asked the patient when he got bit. He answered weakly about 4 months ago. After a series of discussion they had no treatment for him here and would have to send him to a hosptial but it doesn't look good. A four month bite that is still leaking puss even I knew that he was going to die. Nursing someone to death is really hard.

Peace to all and to all be peace
Jam

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Thanks for the support

In the past 24 hours I have recieved over a dozen emails from people that I know and don't know regarding my string of latest posts. I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement. Today is a day off for the team and for all the volunteers at Mother Theresa's and I am going to treat it as a time of refreshment. Now I am going to go enjoy a cold mango lassi and try to read a book. For some bizarre reason I can't finish any of the books that I have purchased, all three of them. The last one "The monk who sold his ferrai" just made me feel really impatient and I flipped straight to end. I found this really amusing as the book is about patience and self discovery. Probably I should sell my ipod and get a cd player, that will teach me patience...nah...it wil just increase my luggage.

Peaceo
jam

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I really don't know what to say....it's horrid

I am going to be honest and say that I NEVER ever share really personally stories or events. Most of you that know me know why, but today I am going to share something really really personally. India this year is really stretching me, more than last year and I feel an obligation to express this.

Yesterday at Kalighat they brought a man in on a tarp and while my friend Ryan and I were doing dishes he looked at me and said "That doesn't look good" I carried on doing dishes, it's one of my favourite past times. After dishes I went to wash my hands and head upstairs for chai and to call it a day. On my way to the roof a long term volunteer yelled out for me to help him pick up this old man. I came over to pick him up and well he really started to smell. I looked at him and realized that he just had a shower, so where is this rotting smell coming from?

I noticed he had a bandage on his hand but it looked like a normal kalighat wound. We eventually found him a bed and a nurse came to undress the bandage. What I saw can't really be described, but I will try... The skin off his hand was gone, you can put your fingers through his bones, tons of maggots, rotting black skin and the strong smell of dead flesh. I was shocked, even the nurse was shocked by the extent and she has been working there for over 10 years... I called Ryan over quickly and told him to comfort this man. I then held his hand and watched in horror as they gave him some meds and then tried to save his fingers...

...after pulling out all the maggots, they realized that they couldn't save his fingers... they were dead and too badly infected so they just started cutting them off one by one until there was nothing left. They bandaged up his hand and all that was left was a stump. I prayed that he would make it through the nite. I saw him today and he looked better but I really wouldn't be able to tell the long term effect for a while.

What really affected me out of all of this happened today. On my back from kalighat I saw an old man walking slowly with a stump in his arm. On his arm I saw a plastic bag around he definitely was homeless. I wanted to bend down and touch his feet and bless him, my heart went out to him...but instead I gave him my water bottle made the sign of peace and walked on. I feel horrid, I feel like the worst man in the world, I felt like I really didn't learn anything from Kalighat yesteday...who am I? what am I?

I hope that understanding and patience will make me grow into a more caring individual. I hope.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Going to take a break from blogging for a day....

It's been an easy day today - volunteering, logisitics and I even had a meal that wasn't curry. Who eats beans and toast in India. I need some time to think...so will post another virtual thought tomorrow.

Jam

BTW>>> I have had over 500 actually hits on my site in the past 15 days - that's crazy!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Why another hard day?

I don't understand why the days are getting harder? Is faith trying to teach me something? Today I went to volunteer at a place called Daya Dan and well it's a hard place for me. I volunteered there 2 years ago for a couple days and I couldn't handle seeing over 30 special need kids in one place. Today I volunteered to take some members of the team to Daya Dan forgetting the impact that place has on me.

I have been working with kids since I was 14 years old but this place just overwhelmed with the amount of suffering? joy? and there was only 3 volunteers when I was serving and the demands were high - washing, slipping in piss, feeding and it was really difficult. After three straight days it just wasn't me.

I don't think I am wuss because early today I was working on a dressing in which a kids foot just got sliced off, bone included and I just sat there and was helping cut infected skin. One of my friends came by and just stared at me and said " I have been in India for 9 months and I thought I saw everything but this is new" Then he went outside I think to puke. People were really disgusted by what they saw but I kept working and my main thought was on how much this kid was suffering.

So I don't think I am wuss, life is throwning me this challenge today and I realized that kids have a strong impact on me. From brothels, abused special needs and....and...well the next thing I am sure to find...hopefully not tomorrow.

Peaceo
Jam

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Team is here...and a last breath...

My team from Canada arrived yesterday morning and it's been a bit crazy since they arrived. I didn't sleep the nite before for some bizarre reason, also because my 2Cdn room has a little window, small fan [that actually creates heat] and is actually shorter than me - that's right I bump my head on the ceiling. It's a really small room. So I was happy to move to the another hotel that has a proper fan and air-con - literally the best invention that HUMANS created. When I am in Trinidad I hate it but when the newspaper report 39 degress with humidity being 97% - the aircon is my friend.

The team is doing really well and I like them, they all volunteered this morning and for some it was really intense.

This morning I was helping with dressing patients who have bruises. Now these aren't normal bruises, most of the patients have been rejected from hospitals so there brusises are unique, anything from a whole the size of your fist in a head to a foot just cut clean off. While I was helping to dress a patient I noticed a patient beside me who looked like he was about to die, he was on a respirator and breathing slowly. I said a silent prayer for him and continued on to work with the nurse and patient. After we finished I went over to check his pulse and I couldn't find it anywhere, hands, neck, etc... He just passed away while I was helping somebody else. I jsut sat there is awe for a minute and then called the nurse over. She checked and we then closed his eyes. It was scarry to think that those eyes once had life less than 5 minutes ago and now it's empty.

I have to go the last couple days have been intense...and I don't like fluff writing...and well I must report back to these "North American" emails and there demands...I wish people would understand - but what they don't see most don't care about.

Jam

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

brothels

The event that really disturbed me two days ago was a visit to the red light districts in Kolkata. In the past couple years I have visited alot of red-light districts in different countries Toronto, Morrocco, Amsterdam etc etc and have been disgusted by the darkness of it all. My spider-sense goes out the window.

Kolkata was the worst one I have ever seen, even before I got out the taxi - in broad daylight [I only go to this places in daylight] pimps were already pushing and bartering for me. It was crazy so crazy that I put my ipod earphones on and pretended not to hear anything at all. People were following me for over 10 minutes. I walked straight to the Dispensary Charity Clinic and asked how my team can help. After a long discussion and a long delay I left for a tour, I saw girls that couldn't have been older than 18 lined up against the wall and my friend said that they have been working here for over 5 years.

I asked what was the cost for a girl.

The answer was 100 R.S.

I choked...you mean 100 R.S. in my mind that was 2.50Cdn...for less than the price of Big Mac you can rape a girl...

I hate big Macs and I hate this...

To make matters worse I view the conditions in which they live and it was worse than a slum and then I heard the voices of children in the background and almost vommited. Children were being pimped.

This has really left a scar on me, I really questioned it all. I got up yesterday morning, did some FreedomzieIndia work... ate some chicken soup [from the advice of a friend] an went to sleep. I slept, wrestled with it all from 11:30am to 4:30am. I really wanted to leave India this morning, but Faith has a bigger plan here for me.

I am not catholic but I went to mass this morning and I feel alot better. I know that their is alot of work to be done in me before the day is over.

Love you all
Jam

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

the hot weather

According to the newspaper it's going to be 40 today, I wish that was true but it's not even close. It's 9am and it already feels like 35 - I think that it might be 50 today.

On another note I saw something really horrific yesterday that really put a scar in me, hopefully I will be able to discuss it but I need time to digest it.

Jam

Volunteering and Chai

Right before bed time it's natural to go and have a chai on the street corner with some of the other volunteers and travellors. You usually end up having good conversation ranging from volunteering, politics, weather, diarrhea etc...etc.. I really enjoy it because some of the volunteers, travellors are all from different countries around the world so they have pretty unique perspectives especially on diarrhea.

Last nite was a little different as I ended up speaking with some Univeristy Students from India, we chatted until 2:00am about everything under the sun, until I realized the sun has been down for a while...the streets were really really quiet and everyone was asleep.

For the second nite in a row I was the last one to go to sleep on Sudder Street.

On another note I got over 40 emails today, the most I have ever recieved in 24 hours and I just responded to everyone, man I am tired...off to volunteer

Blessings
Jam

Sunday, May 08, 2005

India Work

I decided to take a 20 minute nap which magically got extended into a 6 hour power nap. I didn't realized that I was so exhausted from the day and the heat. I couldn't go to sleep last and so I ended up walking around Calcutta late last nite for a couple hours then I found this 24hr cafe and just sat down and did work on my laptop for 3-4 hours.

The cafe was really funny, there was a Dj spinning really old music...like Prince, Marley and then threw in some Random India beats in the middle.

Finished all my work around 4am and just went back to my room to sleep.

Best thing that happened yesterday was when I saw to kids driving down the street in a rickshaw so I told them to get in the back and I would drive. It was soooooo hard and I almost hit a car, thank God the streets were empty. Those kids were really scarred and I was laughing the whole time. Now you know why I am not a parent.

Going to spend some time in the slums today. Don't know what to expect, but it's India so there is always curry involved.

JAMMAMAMAMAMMAMAMAM

Feeling much better...must be the curry

My friend Paul convinced me last nite to have chips and curry...blah...actually it was pretty good. It has to be the oil, the same oil that use for the fries must be in the curry.

You might think that is a weird combination but it's not compared to what my friend has a couple days ago in England - Chips, Cheese and Curry. I don't understnad the English and food, they expect to mix food with no flavours and get flavour?!

On another note, feeling much better today and spent the day volunteering at the Mother House. I felt really honoured to be volunteering there, even though I saw the most horrid micro surgery being done today. One of the patients testicles swelt up today to the size of a mini football and it was really bruised and infected. I have never seen the inside of a testicle before and...well it's not a pretty picture. The volunteer/staff nurse from Germany knew what to do and so I watched/helped and well...I don't want to see that again. But I know I will be there bright and early tomorrow morning.

Oh! Happy Mothers Day MOM. I love you.

love de' son
Jam

Friday, May 06, 2005

In India.

Well I arrived yesterday morning and alot of happen to me since my fight.

This cold caught up with me from England and well I have been out of commission for the past couple hours. I volunteered at the Mother House yesterday for about an hour but left early because I couldn't concentrate + I didn't want to infect the patients. The cold was so bad that I went to bad at 1:45pm and woke up at 5:00am.

The other funny news is that I bumped into my friend Paul who I travelled with for 2 weeks last year. I saw him on the street in Calcutta and that actually shocked me, he is the last person in the world I would have expected to see - my mom showing up wouldn't have surpised me this much. We figured out that we haven't seen each other in 8 months. Can you believe it's been 8 months since I went back to Canada? My whole life in Canada flashed before my eyes and it was impossible for me to tell him everything that I have done since September.

Paul has been travelling in India for about 9 months and is one of the funniest english blokes I have ever met. If any of my friends remmeber me telling the story about the English and Japanese guys travelling together, well I am going to share one. Everyday we would teach the Japanese guy - Kogi [did I spell that write] a new english word. Like "wanker" or "bollocks" and this guy would look it up in his Engish - Japanese dictionary...it was sooo funny. The best time ever during the trip is when Paul convinced Kogi that Guiness didn't originate from Ireland but came from the town of Guine in Japan. These guys should have their own sitcom.

I should go and try to kill this cold. I feel like a big baby.

Waaaaaaaaaa
Jam

Music, Books and other current thingys...

Currently listening to the Garden State Soundtrack:
http://www.gardenstatesoundtrack.com/

Good selection of music and well Thievery Corporation is as close to India as I like, another band I am listening to right now is Bloc Party - I love the british. They make albums as oppose to most North American bands that just turn out singles.

Book I am reading is:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, started reading it in Oxford only to find out in India that the writer is from Oxford. So far the book is brutally honest and very different than anything I have read in a while.

In India I always find myself reading in my spare time and I usually finish a book a week. So I will definitely keep you posted on what my brain is intaking.

Peaceo
Jam

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Crazy times in London!

Yesterday I spent my whole day in Oxford so today i did something new..
I spent most of my time down on SouthBank in London. It's an area that I have been visiting for the past three years but I never got to the do the essential tourist things - like visit the Tate Gallery, London eye and drinking some Guiness in the rated "5 pinter" pub.

Tate was awesome, I mean really awesome - a really diverse set of private collections and themes...body/art..there collections of Picasso's and Warhols are good, but can't even touch MOMA in new york. I really enjoyed the building it stands out in the skyline.

The London eye was soooooo cool. I have been waiting for over 5 years to go on it and it just didn't disappoint. The day was really cloudy but for some reason it cleared up right around sunset :> So i got the sun setting over London.

Oh! i forget I went to the British museum...going to talk a bit about that later but to sum it up. Impressed by the structure but colonization...DAMN! Everything feels like it should belong back to it's own country not in a museum some 6000 km away.
More on that next week. Doing an awesome experiment - trust me.

I also meet a really cool girl who pretended to be Canadian but is really from America. The story should just end there but it didn't.
Apparently her boyfriend managed to pose as an economics proffessor in China and did a series of lectures at a university until he couldn't handle the heat and bailed out. Never to be allowed in the country again. Well I thought this story was extremely funny and checked it out online and well it's true.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/19/nchina19.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/02/19/ixnewstop.html

Man this guy just has balls!! I want to meet him.

It's 1:34am must get some sleep
Jam

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Oxford, UK

I am currently sitting in my mates flat in Oxford. Sitting in the same clothes that I wore on the over nite plane, AND the same clothes I wore all day Monday. It's Wednesday morning at 12:20. I am tired, I need a shower, a shave and some gummi bears. I don't think I will be receiving any of those tonite.

The grass is greener on the other side of the pond

Jam

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Last nite

It was my last nite in the east side apartment :< So what does one do on the last nite?
The same thing I do everytime I have free time, some Jazz, candles, wine and a movie. Rented the christmas special of "the office" DAMN! That was funny, the best part on that DVD was the Golden Globe [TM] Featurette.

Must jet, having the last meal with past, present and future flat mate.

JAMZ