Paediatric and Gynaecology Camps December 2011

200 patients receive expert medical care, 1000 villagers arrive for lunch, crowds gather to watch football, and children watch enthralled the performances of song and dance: a manic two days at the Haven Centre!

December 28th and 29th proved to be a challenging two days for the MBCF staff at the Haven Centre. Thanks to good organisation by Manager, Ashis Dutt, the very busy schedule of tasks was completed relatively easily. The Haven members, who had travelled from the UK and Kolkata, also played their part to support and help wherever they could.

Visiting consultants Dr Rikta Choudhury, Gynaecologist, and Dr Abhijit Mondal, Paediatrician, kindly volunteered their expertise to run the two medical camps. Their patients were made up of local villagers who live in abject poverty and have no access to any affordable healthcare in the surrounding area. The considerate and caring consultations allowed all patients to feel at ease and Haven would like to thank both doctors for their compassion and time. They were assisted by Mrs Banani Mondal, a trained surgical nurse, and MBCF nurse Rita Mondal. The 200 patients had been already profiled by the MBCF medical team ensuring the consultants had vital information to hand. Consequently the camps ran very smoothly; to date there have been six referrals from the Gynae camp and we are still awaiting the final number of referrals from the Paediatric camp. Haven will ensure the follow up of all referrals and offer funding to patients requiring financial aid for the necessary treatment and all other related costs for transport and accommodation.

The Annual Football Tournament on the afternoon of the 28th proved welcome light relief from the serious part of that day, although it's doubtful the competing teams would see it that way! As the midday sun's intense heat started to fade, the four teams stepped out onto the pitch for a pre-match photo shoot and then headed off to their battle stations. The next two hours of gruelling combat kept the crowds entertained and there were many "oohs and aahs" from the expectant fans at missed opportunities of scoring goals. The jubilant winners this time were our Youth Group, defeating Atla Boys Team 1-0 in the final, a match that was the hot topic for discussion among the Haven members and supporters who were staying the night at the Centre. MBCF Caretaker, Potith, had considerately built a fire in the Centre's courtyard and as everyone cosily gathered around, tired from a full day, we watched the flames flicker upwards to ward off the chill of the cold winter evening and reflected on what a marvellous day it had been.

The children with Cerebral Palsy, who regularly attend our Physio Clinic, arrived the next day, the 29th of December, as guests of honour to a dazzling performance of song and dance. The group of Haven/MBCF volunteers who performed had rehearsed for many hours and had travelled all the way from Kolkata so that these children could enjoy a memorable day. In addition all the children at our Learning Centre were also invited and there were many delighted faces to be seen among the audience. At the end of the show, Haven distributed new winter uniforms and new shoes to all, and the only somewhat glum faces on view were those of the two teachers at our Learning Centre. Most believe this was due to their past experience of long weeks of repetitive shoe-lace tying lessons!  

Next came lunch, sounds simple enough but when the number of lunch guests reaches 1000, nothing about this meal was simple. From the mountains of vegetables to peel, clean and cook to the pots and pans which were large enough to take a bath in, the task of creating the delicious meal we were all privileged to enjoy was a mammoth one. The Youth Group then took over from the cooks to serve all 1000 guests with the utmost care and insisted on clearing up. It seems footballers really do have manners after all!

And the crowning glory of this two day visit to the Haven Centre? From the minute we arrived and including most of the night, to exactly ten minutes before we left the following day, a production crew were continuously and discreetly at work behind the scene. Their objective was to create a video which would show, in a most natural way, Haven at its best, highlighting all the events taking place at the Centre and all the work which has helped Atla Village to emerge new. Sensitively directed by Monika Ghosh, this short video is an emotional journey for many of us who have been with Haven since it began. Monika's distinctively artistic style has been perfectly interpreted by cameraman, Sunil Ghosh with his responsive and thought provoking photography. With her careful editing and perceptive choice of music, Monika has seen this project through to its completion. Haven would like to thank this two-man production crew for their superb efforts.  

View the video yourself, don't forget to choose full screen option and turn the sound volume up!   






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