I wonder where you were this Christmas and what you were doing to mark the New Year? More importantly, what are your reflections on the year so recently lived and your dreams and hopes for the year ahead?
(photo shows Kovallam Beach, Kerala on Christmas Day and Indian Santa with me on Christmas Eve)
Thinking back to the past year for Cairdeas there have been many achievements and blessings. We have been privileged to work with colleagues in India and Africa. At CMC Vellore we have been involved in exciting projects such as the Fellowship in Palliative Medicine and the Diploma in Family Medicine. The new hospice now has patients after much anticipation! In Malawi we were able to help with training the trainers and sensed real hope for the palliative care movement there with such able and committed leadership. In partnership with Hospice Africa Uganda we are shaping plans to see palliative care develop in the university and teaching hospital setting in Kampala. We also were represented at the 2nd conference for palliative care in Africa - APCA Nairobi; and saw the incredible progress in many countries.
This coming year what are our hopes and dreams? To continue to see those in need receive the help they deserve. To support and train those who are committed to making a difference. To share our skills, time, love and most of all ourselves. To learn from those we work with and those we seek to serve. To be motivated by compassion and our shared humanity for if one person is suffering then it touches us all.
Let me tell you a story from the Hospice in Vellore. Shanthamary has a very difficult and heart-rending story. She received treatment for cancer including surgery but her wound had broken down and become infected. Her dressings were filthy and in rags and her family were desperate but too poor to get help. When the social worker visiting from CMC saw her in the village she was horrified to see the misery of her condition and even the dogs pulling at her clothes. She came straight back and asked if the palliative are team and hospice could help. This picture was taken 2 days later and I have Shanthamary's permission to tell her story. She has been admitted to the Hospice, her pain controlled with medication, her wounds cleaned and dressed, her beautiful hair washed and combed, her clothes freshly laundered and food provided for her and her family who are now staying with her. She is still very ill but what a transformation when loving and skilled care is offered. (the photo show the Sisters Patsy and Victima who are in charge at the Hospice)
The next few weeks and months for Cairdeas are exiting as we welcome 5 colleagues to India to help with training. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Prof Rajagopal and Pallium India and I will send updates of the various programmes on this BLOG. Later this year we will be focussing on the plans to support developments in Uganda.
(last sunset of the year over the Arabian sea and fireworks to usher in 2008)
What about our personal dreams and goals? Let me share with you some verses from the bible which I read today which inspired me. 'Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done' and 'Take delight in God and he will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to him, trust him and he will help you'
Wishing you all a Happy New year.