Here I am again, back in Kullu valley since one week now. As usual I have set my “base camp” in a small cottage on the edge of the deodar cedar forest inhabited by the exquisite and holly temple of Hadimba goddess, in Dhungri village, just above Manali. It is such a quiet place with no access for cars, so peaceful in the day and at night except for a small stream giving the non-stop tone of nature.
Going to Kullu, 47 kms down Manali, involves a 1 hour drive by car or 1h30 to 1h45 by local bus. Kullu town is much more traditional than Manali, where life has been artificially accelerated by tourism since the last twenty years.
I already went to Kullu twice in order to work with the team of the Handimachal Kullu Therapy Unit for disabled children. The rate of attendance by families is quite good at the moment and the whole team shows a strong motivation. April, our new OT volunteer from the US, is beginning to find her place in the local community and she is engaging her full energy and knowledge into the project for the benefit of children.
Last Saturday (27 August), a very young girl named Tavleen was there. Tavleen (14 months) is a CP girl and luckily has been brought by her parents to the Handimachal Unit since May this year. Tavleen now comes almost every day, and thanks to exercises provided by Mayur, our young physiotherapist, Tavleen’s joints and muscles are gaining the flexibility already lost during the first months of her life. It is still difficult for her to control her neck movements and head balance, and all stimulations are sought to encourage her in turning her head to the right in a natural manner. Which means a long and patient work for our therapists, with the active help of Ajay, Auntie and young Ramneek, who are also doing their maximum to engage Tavleen in active contacts.
What really surprised me and moved me is the extraordinary patience shown by this tiny 14 month old girl, who never cries, accepts all exercises with a smiling face most of the times. Spending these two hours with Tavleen in the Handimachal Unit gave me a true sense of happiness and is probably the best motivation I may find for the continuation of this project.
You may see a few pictures of Tavleen taken on that day in this album.
Our young friend Prakash Thapa, who was not brought to the Unit for several months (to our repeated phone calls, his parents claimed that he was sick...), now shows up again from time to time: as we recently gave him a wheelchair, we are threatening his parents to take the precious wheelchair back if visits are not regular enough… "Kya Kare?" What to do?!
Prakash in the wheelchair given by SSA in April,
Prakash’s mother together with Mayur (in the white coat) and Ajay
Dominique, 31 August 2011