The Elephant Marches on, Despite the Barking Dogs21 Jan 2008, by Uncategorized in
January 7, 2008
If there’s anything that sums up the volunteer trip, it’s the famous Hindi saying, “The elephant marches on, despite the barking dogs.” From the very first day, some of the team members were feverish, nauseated, fainting, or sick to their stomachs. But despite this, they kept trudging along and helped each other recover in the solace of their hotel room. The night before half the volunteer team was scheduled to depart for Nepal, our youngest volunteer was hospitalized. She was severely dehydrated and pale as a ghost by the time she reached the “Casualty Ward,” the Indian version for “emergency room.” Not very comforting…
Needless to say, the team did not split up that day. With their extra time, we organized a trip to Victoria Gardens for the children from Kidderpore. We managed to cram 40 children, a caram board, a cricket bat, and badmitton r
ackets into 3 cars! The kids really enjoyed the afternoon, where they had acres of green space to run around. After several hours, we had to say farewell, but not before buying the kids ice cream cones. We felt it was an appropriate way to follow up our nutrition workshop!
The next week, our team had the great opportunity to attend the dance therapy workshop at Topsia’s center. The workshop is given every week by a survivor from Sanlaap’s shelter home, who now works for Sanved. This organization uses dance therapy to reach and rehabilitate street children, trafficking survivors, and victims of domestic abuse. It’s truly amazing to think that this woman, once a victim of sex trafficking, is now mentally and physically able to help others express their trauma through dance. One thing that Sohini, the founder of Sanved, told me is that often times, trafficking victims disassociate their minds with their bodies in order to survive the abuse. They do not consider their body to be a part of their person, and thus her first task is to help them reconnect their mind and body. Often, verbal expression does not provide the opportunity for such connection, but through dance the girls can begin to take ownership of their movement and feel proud of bodies.
On the last day of their stay, the volunteers went to say goodbye to the women and children at the Kidderpore center. Since I was sick, I couldn’t go with them, but from the phone I could tell they were crying. They truly left their mark on the children, and I dread tomorrow when I know they will ask me, “where are your friends?”