Week 1 volunteering at Sumanahalli.

By Ciara Naughton and Erika D’Costa

Sumanahalli translates as the “village of good hearts”.

We start every morning in the leprosy clinic along with a French volunteer who has taught us how the leprosy clinic is run.  Our initial reaction was one of fear; we thought that it would be very difficult to become accustomed cleaning and dressing the patient’s wounds. However, after a while, we found out time in the clinic to be very enjoyable and an excellent way of interacting with and forming a bond with all of the patients.

Our afternoons are spent playing hurling, badminton and cricket with some of the children from the Ave Maria house on the Sumanahalli campus and from some of the nearby houses. They are absolutely obsessed with the bubbles!

On Wednesday, a make-shift cinema was made and we watched Jurassic World with some of the staff at Sumanahalli. We also got to try some Indian sweets and crisps.

On Thursday, we went to a mass to celebrate the foundation day of the Claretians in a nearby university. After the mass, jokes were told, a traditional Indian dance was performed and an interpretative mine on current events in India was performed.

One of our fondest memories of the past week is the celebration of one of the boys birthday so we dressed up in saris; spent the night stuffing our faces with cake and the children in Ave Maria had great crac putting cake on our face (a common Indian tradition).

We spend our days eating all the different delicacies of India, from curry to dosas and of course a lot of rice. Also they have cooked us some potatoes for breakfast lunch and dinner!