A restless dissatisfaction!

By Artika Datta, Advanced Specialist Dietitian

I have returned from India after spending a week in Rishikesh volunteering in Ganga Prem Hospice and Government School number 8 with restless dissatisfaction. I am pleased with what I have achieved with the help of my colleagues Claire, Helaina and Tanzil and my supportive family but impatient that there is much more we can still to do.

The level of care and support provided by the nursing and administrative staff in Ganga Prem Hospice was really touching. The staff in the hospice work really hard to help improve the quality of lives of in patients and also those seen on home visits. However, it was heart-breaking to see how patients who are supposed to receive adequate nutrition through feeding tubes, were extremely malnourished. It reinforced the need for suitable training and provision of sufficient resources. I feel optimistic that our recommendations and contributions now and in the future will have a positive impact on patients’ nutritional outcomes.

It was my first experience working in a school in India but I was overwhelmed to see so many smiles and happy faces despite the fact that the majority of children attending the school had little or nothing to eat at home. It made me feel grateful for what I have but also sad that access to food, shelter and basic education is a daily fight for these children coming from extreme poverty. I was so proud of Yush, my 10 year old son, who showed enthusiasm and willingness to support us in the school and how well he was able to interact with the school children. Reading Yush’s journal that he maintained during his stay in Rishikesh showed that it was also an excellent learning experience for him.

I feel very fortunate and privileged to have this opportunity to work within a team and to also further develop my skills of planning, organisation, co-ordination and leadership. I certainly feel that I have strengthened my skills of adaptability and agility in this trip. I am truly grateful to my Department Head, my Manager and Cambridge Global Health Partnerships for their generous support and last but not the least to my wonderful colleagues Claire Helaina and Tanzil for their positive attitudes, hard work and their wonderful efforts.

I am looking forward to continue working with them through this important stage of analysing our data, writing our reports , preparing presentations and most importantly laying the foundations for a continuous programme of support!

Only then will my restlessness ease a little…..