22 August 2006

ride the white horse

title comes from this song that is ubiquitous in the bars at this time and has hence become a bit of the soundtrack to these fleeting weeks.
its been a while since the internet has been available; life has been busy.
last week my enthusiastic freshly minted doctor friend took me to the OT in the hospital one night, told a lie or two to the front desk, disguised me with scrubs and a mask, and stood next to me as they opened up this poor fucker's foot that had been crushed by a truck.
i should have known what i was getting myself into when they prepped him, and put a bucket under his foot to catch the blood. this was the first time id seen bones and flesh existing quite separately from eachother--small chunks of mangled toe being cut away and bright red living flesh and i finally broke out in vicious sweat and weak racing pulse (shock) and politely excused myself. 
then we departed for a few days via jeep to visit rural health projects way the fuck out in the boonies; it was my first time in such a place in india. we were with all of these children in a remedial school for bonded laborers and they took us for a walk and there were these old men crouched over piles of freshly caught fish. we were standing by them looking at the 'lake' (ie mudhole) and a conversation started. it came out that i was american and one of them looked up from his work and said he'd never seen a foreigner before. he appraised me for a moment quite calmly and went back to scaling his fish.
the children were absolutely delighted with my camera.
they were so excited to have visitors that they put on a talent show for us, out in the dusty yard in front of the school. there were children dressed as bushes (with living foliage), politicians, ninjas? etc and it was quite brilliant. there were choreographed dances. there was a moment where the girls were dancing to this song called 'I love my india' and i was sitting there watching them move beautifully together the dusk and the rain started falling on the parched earth 
and it was so real.  
we palavered with wizened midwives who have seen more than 3 of my lives combined. women here age so fast; the exhaustion in their walk and skin and bones is nearly palpable. i ate fruits which i have no name for or ability to describe. sunday night we stayed in an abandoned dispensary under an asbestos roof with no openable windows and boiled alive. i kicked off the soaking sheets and kept imagining things crawling all over me in my half sleep; but finally the sensation became strong enough to make me swat at my arm and a huge cockroach went flying.
they were all up in the bed, under the sheets and the blankets.
but that aside,
  we are finally witnessing the union of theoretical administration and action in the field and its awe-inducing. the complexity, the disparity, jesus i have enough to think about for an entire lifetime. 
mad world.

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