Dommeru / DAY TWO
Woke up and got myself to the village this time via atuo-rikshaw -- which is always an adventure. They are notorious for trying to charge to much and you have to haggle back and forth over the price. I am getting way more bold in this and it is kind of fun. Anyway -- the guy that I had I guess half way through the trip decided to try and get rid of me - - ON THE BRIDGE (smile) . .. he was honking for other auto drivers to pull over and I said, "what are you doing -- we need to keep moving I will be late." He said, "no problem" and then he got one guy to pull over (we are on the top of the bridge) and he says to me -- "You go with him, he will take you . . .not enough money for me?" I was like, "What . . .on the bridge I'm getting out?" I said, you agreed now come on lets go! He said, "no you go" and I said, "no, I am not going . . . and he saw that I was serious and and then a big smile came on his face and he took off over the bridge. A little of the way there and he pulls open his glove box and pulls out a baseball cap -- and he puts it on his head and looks in his rear-view mirror and smiles at me while he can see me wearing MY baseball cap and that was it . . .we were friends! He must of liked my hutspa!
I arrived at the Mission and then was taken over to the place where Pastor Ravi's has his office, the HIV/AIDS ministry and the school building is just behind. There are about 5 different school grades and about 100 or so kids that attend. I visited a few of the classrooms -- the kids are so cute.
After I spent about 4 hours with some of the AIDS victims and was trying to counsel and pray for them. The cases are heart breaking. One of the guys had a CD 4 count of 11 -- you have AIDS when you have 200 -- most people have between 750 - 1100. He can't work because he is too week -- plus no one would hire him looking so sick -- as a result he has no money for food -- so he can't get any bigger because no money for food and when he does it is just rice -- no protein. The closest hospital for them is 100 kilometers (about 60 miles) they don't have money for bus so they usually can't go unless someone pays. They are supposed to go pick up there medicine once a month. Dommeru is 30 minutes from Rajahmundry and there is a River that separates them -- the river also separates the districts and if you are on the east side of the River -- you go to Elerue if you are on the Rajamundry side you go to Kakinada --
Sitting across the table and hearing these stories are heart breaking. We think about AIDS in America -- even though no cure is available -- it is manageable at this point with medications -- and we think the rest of the world is like us . . .people have no clue how poor the really poor are -- it is nothing like the United States --
I wanted to make sure the one gentleman who was a christian -- was really solid with his walk with Jesus -- and that he knew if he died he was going to heaven -- we went through some scriptures and he said, yes he was sure . . that made me feel good as I know if he passes at least he would be with the Lord. I also found out that NICE mission will provide them with some rice but they too have so many needs.
It would take about $38.00 a month to give someone enough rice and vegetables and milk for a month plus transportation to go to the hospital round trip to pick up medications. That would actually keep someone alive -- $38.00 a month -- that is like 8 basic Starbucks drinks.
I found out that there is a new Government Hospital in Rajahmundry which would only be 30 minutes. They would have to get permission to transfer to this location but it would not only be cheaper but less of a physical challenge for the journey for those who are literally on deaths door. -- I met the Head of the AIDS organization for the whole State a couple years ago and will be making an appointment to see him next couple weeks to talk about getting these patients transferred to the new Government hospital -- pray that God gives me favor!
I want to try and help them strengthen this work -- but there is much to do and it will take raising some money-- let us see what God can do.
I also had a chance to speak with the Muslim boy who was 9 years old and got HIV from a blood transfusion -- his parents let me him come to hang out at the mission -- and he came and heard me speak last night and sing and today I was asking him how it was going at school -- if the kids made fun of him or anything -- he said they didn't -- I we spoke through a translator for about 30 minutes and then I asked him if I could pray for him -- he said yes. . . it was a really good time with these people!
Back for lunch with some of the other patients and then a trip back to where I was staying and time to say goodbye. I really enjoyed my time with the folks at NICE Mission and look forward to working with them in the future...