Friday, November 13, 2009

ADIA will no longer be taking donations.

our work in Hyderabad is currently suspended, as I remain out of the country at present.

this blog will continue to be updates, though infrequently, as further events transpire.

Monday, October 5, 2009

No update in quite some time - we have left India for Nepal after the expiry of our Indian visas. We're in communication with our friend in Hyderabad who is networking with local advocates and Fernandez Hospital to have Adia treated by their charity allotment.

Presently she has been admitted to the gov't hospital in Mahbubnagar, the family's native village. While not as good as a private hospital, it will at least keep her off the streets, in a decently clean place with a certain degree of medical care.

Unfortunately I am unable to update this blog regularly at present. Kathmandu has power cuts which can last several hours daily, and presently it is festival season (Dashain/Diwali) in which much of the city closes at odd times.

We will not be able to do any direct work with Adia, obviously, until we are able to return to India. While here in Nepal we're attending NGO workshops, collaborating with extant groups on projects here, and learning everything we can about NGOs and how to overcome to obstacles commonly faced in charity work in the 'third world'.

Updates will be provided whenever one is available. Thank you for continuing to keep Adia, her family, and the many children like her in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

today's peek

How wonderful to see the ladies of the family crowded around Adia, happy to see her take her little meal!

She has a long way to go still - but I do think she is looking a bit better, in aspect perhaps more than apperance. She is much more active, and her lung infection (she was admitted to Lotus with a rattling cough, but the notes say it was gone by the time she left)! Now she just needs to gain more strength, and of course weight. After shall come physical therapy - and also immunizations, of which she has had none.

I wish I was already back fomr Nepal, so excited I am about the prospect of a safe maternity home for Adia's mother and excellent care for Adia as well. I wish I had been able to make it happen tonight, but I'm afraid I rushed things a bit and was simply unable to meet with those who gould give the go-ahead. Tomorrow I will have our friends with me when I visit - we have been so blessed to gain the support of a influential and well-known person in the community - and I feel that our chances for a quick hospital admission will be better!

adia on film!

Lately we have realised that a great many people are quite uninformed or unaware of the conditions that exist within India.

We tried to capture the scene which has remained essentially the same since we first met little Adia in this spot - to show veiwers what Adia's life is like on a day-to-day basis, and to raise awareness of the nature of poverty in Hyderabad. Around the tragic form of Adia's emaciated body, you see the prosperous downtown district and its bustling citizens side-stepping the small child as they go along their way.

I think we helped them make some money, though - a few people tossed Adia's family some coins when they realised we were filming!

Adia Downtown

The next clip is of Adia eating a bit of iddly. The doctor recommended this sort of food as easy to digest and good for getting her body ready to handle solids again. She can only have a tiny bit at a time - but I think she enjoyed it!

Adia Iddly!

We hope to continue taking footage of Adia throughout her recovery, and with the help of some friends, edit it into a short film to raise awareness about the plight of Adia and children like her - as well as educate others about the nature of poverty in what is known as a 'third world' country.

Having spent most of my young life planning to travel abroad and venturing out as soon as I was able, I felt myself prepared for anything. I was nonetheless shocked at the magnitude of the poverty I encountered as well as the uncomfortable juxtaposition of a very unbalanced distribution of wealth. Lately someone told me that they simply cannot believe that Hyderabad has the sort of poverty of which I speak, and cited the call centers, the booming technology industry, and the like as proof of its universal affluence. My explanations are sometimes not understood simply because people do not wish to face such a harsh reality.

I do not want to be a harbinger of gloom, but the very sad truth is that most every Indian city, though it may have sleek buildings and fabulously wealthy individuals, also has an immense and teeming underbelly of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. The caste system, of course, bears a large part of the blame for this - but I also believe that the way people treat beggars and the poor in India, and around the world, is a great detriment.

I was recently told that everyone knows you should only give a begger a coin while you're getting into a car, so they can't mob you. It is true, I am sometimes swarmed by dozens of outstreached hands with pleas of 'maa!' and beseeching looks in their eyes. It has perhaps impeded my daily strolls on occasion, but it has surely never spoiled my day, nor emptied my pocketbook to render help to all.

This help is not always monetary. I would find it degrading to toss a coin at someone while I scampered into a car - I do not have one - and strive to always attempt to communicate with the person to whom I'm giving, to make them feel that I consider them an equal and do not resent them just because their social status may incidentally be considered lowlier than my own. On many occasions I have found that, more than money, someone needs a favour done for them - to watch their child while they perform a job, to help them fill out paperwork to be seen at the clinic, to help them find a way to sell their handicrafts at a fair market price - or just to have a conversation. To give to someone only out of a sense of obligation is to demean them as people while simply making oneself feel less guilt.

I think this is a great problem which must be addressed - the way we who are priviledged enough to enjoy ease in our material lives behold and interact with those who struggle. I would implore everyone who reads this to strike up a conversation with the next 'lower-class' person you meet - you may be surprised at the wealth they have inside of them! Only when we begin to regard the impovrished masses as people, as individuals with worth and merits, will we be able to effect true change.

a brighter future

i am off to Nepal tomorrow morning! i wish i was not, but technicalities compel me.
i will return in two weeks' time!

much has transpired simce last i posted here. Adia was discharged from Lotus hospital - by the doctors this time, against sound medical advice and the wishes of myself and the family.,86.15.html

she is now in contact with a wonderful network of charities who have free care as well as many resources to offer! she will be in their hands while i am gone, and i will frequently contact my friends here for updates to share with all and sundry.,105.0.html

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

thoughts and actions

In this post, I will respond briefly to some of the comments shared on one of our recent topics.

Let me begin by saying that I warmly welcome all perspectives and opinions, and do weigh every bit of advice which I have given. The perspective that has lately been presented is not new to me - it is one which I have long considered, and have come to some very difficult realizations as a result.

I understand that it will show better results and bring me less trouble and grief to help those with open hands, and I understand that sometimes there are causes which are beyond easy solutions. But who needs help more than the people who CANNOT ask for help, the people who would ask but their voice is oppressed? Someone needs to speak up for those people. I feel called to this duty.

I definitely do want to have projects to help those who are more 'promising', who are already in a good position to easily recieve and benefit from assistance - But in all reality there are already a lot of groups already out there to help those sort of kids. At least four groups in Hyderabad who would take up Adia's cause were it not for the fact that they see her as 'hopeless'.

Are we really to write off an entire mass of the world's populace as 'hopeless', that they're damned to be wretched and miserable because that's the lot to which they were born? I cannot, will not accept it. What if I, or any one of us, had been written off as hopeless when we've encountered troubles in our lives?

Some people here in India say they will not help others because 'everyone is working out their karma, and that's none of anyone elses business'. The lack of scope in this statement apals me - karma is so much greater than a self-serving excuse. Perhaps it is someone's karma to be born in a lowly position....but is not one incurring bad karma upon themselves by refusing to help? Being born in a priviledged position does not place you higher than anyone else - it obligates you to do what you can to serve those in need. Only then can you continue to raise your karma to greater heights.

'Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.'
- Eugene Victor Debs

With all of this said, I have, through discussions with a dear friend of mine, examined these issues closely and seen another perspective as well. I do not especially care whether the family thinks they're pulling one over on me - I can swallow an insult to save a child's life. What I do care about, however, is whether Adia's life CAN be saved. I will not place myself in her life in a capacity that would only prolong the inevitable, nor attempt to restore her only to present her with a life of poverty and squallor like that of her parents.

Nor can I simply walk away and pretend none of this ever happened. I will not leave Adia to die in a gutter. For a child to pass from this life in pain and fear is one of the most horrific injustices I can imagine - if she must pass, let it be in comfort and in the arms of love.

I hope this has provided some insight into the ideology behind my decisions - and I welcome everyone's thoughts and ideas, now and always.

shifting sands...

A brief update today, but a hopeful one.

I was able to see Adia today and spent a wonderful time with her! Despite being pulled out of the hospital prematurely, I can still see the good effects of the little traetment she recieved - she was alert, playful, and active today. We played our game of 'Big Eyes' - this is where I widen my eyes and she does the same, originally contrived to see how well she could respond to stimuli, but later I found it's something she delights in - and I slowly fed her a near half-cup of milk.

I'm going very slow when feeding her, as per the doctor's advice, because too much food too quickly could tax her system unduly. One of Adia's wonderful Auntys in France has sent a package of condensed-nutrient food specifically designed to replenish the bodies of famished children, so it will be a great blessing when that arrives. I brought Adia some new outfits and blankets today, and tried to convey to the Aunt who was watching over her (more or less) that I would really appreciate the clothing being used, and Adia not being clad only in a towel. Hyderabad in is the midst of monsoon season now, and being exposed to the elements is something that little Adia is not well-equipped to handle.

I was unable to convey much today - Adia has two Aunts whom I know, today's being the younger, and I belive she has a slight mental impairment by which she continually keeps up a patter of speaking or sing-song'ing to herself. As such, though I made it clear that I would return the next day, there was little communication to be had.

I am now deciding how best to proceed. Do I check Adia into another, better, hospital, only to risk having her pulled out again? There is still an option of petitioning the court for temporary custody, though a court-date for such will not be available until October - we haven't such luxury of time. Tonight I will consult with the ever-helpful members of our burgeoning Foundation, and form a concrete plan of action.