‘Julie Barbour’s Indian Report’

Going abroad to nurse was something I always wanted to do and my nursing elective seemed the perfect opportunity to do so while enabling me to learn about missionary work in another country. 

It is fair to say that when we arrived in India, it hit me with a bang. I was no longer in wee Northern Ireland. Our journey from the airport was overwhelming with our taxi having many near misses with lorries and indeed was quite scary at times. Thankfully with Gods protection we arrived safely to our destination.  

India is a highly diverse, lively and colourful country with people everywhere. It contains more languages, religions, races and cultures than any other country in the world. Although it boosts of a high economic growth, there is still a large scale of poverty with 350 – 400 million people living below the poverty line. Poverty was very evident everywhere you went. A common sight were the slum areas where people lived in unhygienic and small living arrangements, with only one room and lack of accessibility to drinking water and light. We had the opportunity to visit a couple of families who lived in slum areas. There were two women who I was deeply inspired by who both had just recently committed their lives to Christ. In particular, one of the womens homes was damaged and the roof was coming through and although her husband worked and earned money he was an alcoholic and therefore used the money to buy drink instead of putting it towards the family. Despite this the smile on her face and her warm welcome into her home was evident that although life was difficult she trusted fully in God. From these slums areas only a short distance away we could see coffee shops, (just like Star Bucks or Embers) and high street fashion shops, demonstrating just how diverse the country is. 

After a few days in the city of Pune for our orientation with Interserve we travelled by bus overnight to Chinchpada Christian Hospital, where we were based. Situated in a very remote and rural area the hospital cared for and treated many patients from the local villages that came for surgery and maternity services, with some travelling as far as sixty kilometres, by foot. The hospitals aim was to provide quality care at minimal cost. To me this was very evident from the doctors and nurses as well as the love they shared in all the care and treatment provided despite facilities being poor and basic, unlike the western world. It was a privilege to work alongside the nurses and doctors in caring for the patients, being able to contribute through my nursing skills.

Each morning there was a time of praise, prayer and devotion for all hospital staff and before any surgery begun it was committed into Gods hands through prayer. The staff solely relied and dependent on Gods protection in the care and treatment they provided. Each Tuesday and Thursday morning there was a time praise and devotion held outside the wards. This was an opportunity to share the gospel but also to encourage those who were ill and their families. 

With a lot of patients from the local villages I noticed many of them had no education as they were sent to work from a very young age, for those who consented for their surgery gave a finger print instead of signing a form.                                                                                                                    

Unfortunately I came across a patient in his early sixty’s admitted for having a low blood count who required a blood transfusion. However, after only being in hospital for 30 minutes the patient sadly passed away. Unfortunately the patient and his family were uneducated and unaware of the consequences could arise. If only they had brought their father into hospital sooner things could have been different. 

In the western world infection control is top priority in our hospitals, with many protocols and regulations in place to ensure it is well maintained. However, this is not the case in Chinchpada Christian Hospital. Disposable gloves are not readily available and there are no sinks in various parts of the hospital to wash their hands. One of the nurses shared how she has worked there for 16 years and never once has been sick or got an infection despite not having the same protection we have here in the western world. She simply explained that God was her overall protection. 

Going to India has been an amazing experience and I am very thankful for the opportunity to go and use my nursing skills in such a remote area. I learnt so many valuable life lessons and challenged in my faith in ways I never thought, enabling me to grow stronger in my walk with God. I have learnt to appreciate our nursing back home and the resources that are so readily available, as well as the simple things such as water and electric which we only had for 12 hours a day. 

During our last week in India we travelled back to the city were we had the opportunity to visit some local projects Interserve supported. This included an orphanage and a centre which held English language and computers classes enabling them with better job opportunities. We also visited a school for children from slum areas were we had the opportunity to take a class, playing games and singing along with them, and then they had the opportunity to ask questions about our country. 

Thank you all for your support both through your prayers and financially, and for all those who came along to the pudding party. I greatly appreciated it. With the money raised from the pudding party I was able to make a donation towards the hospital. With this money the staff has decided to purchase a water cooler (with a water filter) for the use of patients. The weather is very hot, over 40 degrees some days and there is currently no cold and safe drinking water available at the hospital, therefore will be useful for the patients. The staff wishes to thank you all for the kind donation. I was also able to make a donation towards the orphanage and Interserve the missionary organisation. 

Julie Barbour  




Sunday Worship Times

Sunday School – 10.15am
Morning Service – 11.30am
Prayer Meeting – 6.20pm (1st Sunday of Month 5.30pm)
Evening Service – 7.00pm (1st Sunday of Month 6.00pm)

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