When we enter the gate at Prem Dan, I can finally stop holding my breath after the intense, in-your-face-walk (check out pictures from the previous blog). I was surprise at how organized things were and was glad that there was always work to be done. There isn’t anyone “telling” you what to do. You just use your intuition and jump in, eventually picking up on the flow. There are also many long-term volunteers who offer helpful advice and everyone teaches one another as those leave and new people arrive. There are over 50 resident sisters on site, aspirants (sisters in training), mossy’s (which means auntie) who are paid helpers, and the volunteers.
The mornings start with laundry and cleaning. The men and women are separated into 2 buildings. Each building is 3 stories. The first and second floors are where the patients sleep (about 75 per floor). The top floor is where the clothes dry. Morning duties are split into 4 groups:
1st- This group is inside collecting all the bedding (sheets, pee pads, blankets, pillow cases), wipes down each bed with soapy water and collects all patients clothing. Next, the floor gets washed where larger buckets of water are thrown from one side of the room to the others as a group washes away and finishes by making all the beds.
2nd- This group is outside in a big line washing all the clothes like a conveyer belt. Some are scrubbing, others are washing and rinsing in the 4-5 sinks of water. When everything is wringed out, clothes are carried to the roof in buckets.
3rd- This group is upstairs separating and hanging all the clothes on the line in a very specific manner. The entire laundry process takes at least 2 hours.
4th- This group is for those with a strong stomach (nurses and some of the sisters). They clean many patient’s wounds and infections, many filled with maggots and I applaud them all as it is not an easy task. There were a few days where curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take a good look at what was going on…BAD IDEA! I definitely wasn’t going to be of ANY USE in that department. I am the girl who fainted at a hospital when I went with my brother to get his ingrown toenail removed. The nurse said, “Here take a look,” and one glance at the situation put me on the floor ha. Best part, I was the driver and they had to call my other brother to come pick us up and trust me, they didn’t let that one go for awhile!!
*About the woman on the far right:
It broke my heart to hear her story from one of the long-term volunteers. She told me that when this woman (only in her late 30’s) was pregnant for the second time and found out she was having a girl, her husband (FUCKING ASSHOLE/SORRY I’M NOT SORRY) dumped a bucket of acid all over her body!!!! Her life will never be the same…
Around 10am, we spend quality time with the patients cutting finger nails, brushing their hair with coconut oil, massaging/ hydrating their dry skin with lotion, painting nails and some removing lice. Lunch is at 11am. We line up and everyone helps serve and deliver plates. Many patients can eat on their own and for those that cant, we feed.
After lunch we collect dishes and take many patients to the toilet and then to bed for “nap-time.” It’s a really special time to connect and love on the patients who absolutely soak it up.
Love is love…Spread it wherever you go…