My Experience in India

My name is Ann Radabaugh. I am 16 years old, and am finishing my final year of home schooling. In November of 2003 I went to India with a medical missions team organized by the Newport Assembly of God Church. I went to India because I felt God calling me to go. The Wings of Kindness Foundation helped me and I am very thankful for their support. I want to tell you about my impressions of the India I experienced.

The streets were busy with many people on bicycles and motorcycles driving any way they want to drive. Our driver drove on the walkway one time during rush hour traffic. The steering wheel in the cars is on the other side of the car, and they drive on the other side of the street. That was very weird. There is no grass on the ground…….just dirt and dust; even the leaves on the trees are dusty. Houses are made of concrete, but some are brick. In the poor sections houses are made of metal sheets and the roofs are made of straw. These roofs then have tires and other junky things on. I am thinking people put stuff on their roofs so it didn’t get stolen, or maybe to keep the straw from blowing off. Just lots of people. The rivers were very disgusting. AND everybody has a water buffalo!! Cows roam freely on the streets, camels and dogs are everywhere, but no cats. There are horses, but few. The smell of sewage seemed to be everywhere.

The food was spicy and hot. The people eat rice, chicken, beans, and curry. We could not eat many vegetables or fruit because of sanitary conditions. We couldn’t eat anything that was washed in the water. The rule was if we could peel it ourselves we could eat it, but we couldn’t touch the fruit after touching the skin. So it ended up we ate only bananas. We went to Pizza Hut and had Pan Pizzas ……….. not bad. Yes, Pizza Hut is in India.

The purpose of this trip to India was to reach out to the poor by giving them medical help. Our ten person team included doctors, nurses, and non-medicals. Everybody had a job at the medical camps. My job was to work in the pharmacy. Our pharmacy was all kinds of medicine and vitamins and ointments and creams packed in boxes and suitcases sitting on tables and on the floor. We had all kinds of supplies to help people who could not normally get this kind of help because they were too poor. So many babies and children had scabies, lice, worms and bad coughs. I was always busy setting up our boxes and keeping track of where everything was located, and handing out medicine to the people. The days were long and busy, especially those days we saw 600 people. In the 10 days we were there we held 6 medical camps.

I would like to tell you a little about the medical camp in Panchkula. This was the hardest, saddest, yet the most memorable to me. My first impression driving into this village was “How could people live like this?” I saw all these concrete and scrap houses. The roads were dirt and bumpy. There was no green grass or trees………just dust and dirt. Women were washing their clothes in buckets of dirty water. Children were everywhere. They were dressed in mis-matched American style clothes that looked like they came from mission boxes. Some had shoes on their feet, others wore flip/flops, and others were barefoot. The water supply was a community hand pump. At this camp there was a baby girl. Her paper reported she was about one year old, but she was so mal-nourished that she didn’t look that old. She was just skin and bones. This little one was just lying in her mother’s arms. She seemed so weak; there was not much life in her. The baby’s mother looked sad.. ….yet everyone there looked sad. There was a sadness that seemed to fill the air. It was a saddens without hope. Pastor Gary prayed for the mother and baby. I wonder if she is alive today. This scene is in my heart every day. I will never forget this. Memorable moments aren’t always beautiful and happy. I pray we helped her. I pray our being there gave some hope. I pray the poor people were able to see the Love of Jesus in us.