Thursday, September 20, 2012
After our two weeks together in Mysore, all seventeen of us split into different project sites. We are working at Kenchanahalli Vivekananda Memorial Hospital one of SVYM’s great health centers in Karnataka. The grounds lie between the forest itself and vast agricultural fields, a beautifully natural setting that gives us a peaceful feeling each time we look out our windows. The primary health center at Kenchanahalli features a balanced practice of allopathic care and traditional Indian medicine, known as Ayurveda. The word Ayurveda itself means the "knowledge of life". This system of medicine is natural and holistic and dates back 5000 years to its original texts written in Sanskrit. As can be observed in the Viveka Memorial Hospital’s ayurvedic center, the maintenance of balance within the body is emphasized by way of oil and plant-based medicines and treatments
We have been lucky enough to observe many Ayurvedic treatments and learn from the doctors who are so willing to share all that they know with us. Each day we get a little bit more acquainted with the staff, the doctors, the patients, and the environment; going on walks to nearby villages, eating meals in the canteen all together and working each day in the office is allowing us to easily acclimate and grow to love it here, feeling more and more at home at Kenchanahalli.
- Olivia, 2013, Adriana ,2014
My project is focused on an Ayurvedic approach to nutrition and disease. Working with Dr. Seetharam, Dr. Mohan, Dr. Dennis and Mr. Ranjith I am writing a standard operating procedure based on nutritional needs and sanitation requirements for the canteen. The most fascinating part of my project is to create a diet handbook based on Ayurveda, which outlines different body constitution dietary needs as well as diets based on disease treatments. I hope to truly understand the interplay of food and health in a developing and rural context by the time I am through and cannot wait to observe local communities eating and water habits in order to further my appreciation for nutritional care given at Kenchanahalli Hospital and contribute to the best of my ability to SVYM’s mission.
- Olivia, 2013
My project here at Kenchanahalli is to create the standard operating procedures for ayurvedic treatments that are performed here. I also am also processing the prakruti, or body constitution, documents that the center has created over the past two years. It’s been amazing to learn about this alternative form of medicine as well as interact with the hospital staff who have so much to share.
- Adriana, 2014
Antiquity and Modernization
Yesterday was our first day off since starting our project, and we were lucky enough to join Dr. Lisa’s group from Iowa and Louisiana on an adventurous day of cuisine and site seeing. We traveled to three different ancient temples outside of Mysore District, two dedicated to Hinduism and the last one to Jainism, two religions that exist within India. The Temples are so beautifully crafted with intricate figurines of Brahma, Shiva and many other gods in each crevice and scenes of elephants, beautiful flowers and artwork carved into the outer and inner walls. The ceilings echoed with the faint squeaking of bats flying around as the temple swami blessed every person when they walked in; just outside the temple doors lay busy streets filled with cars and smog. I felt truly blessed to be able to observe such an ancient culture and practice that is still going on today. When I think back on the past three weeks here, this juxtaposition of antiquity with modernization is a recurring theme. The people themselves have an air of old world values, culture and beliefs that is exuded through their actions and words as they speak with you, yet they are all talking on modern cell phones. I can only describe this experience as living history, and I have seen it nowhere more strongly in the world than in India. To me this ancient quality has been truly amazing to be immersed in, the ability to do so much with very little is revealed in all situations especially in the healthcare system we are working in. I hope to bring home with me a bit of old world culture and style to further my appreciation of everything I am lucky enough to be apart of as well as become a valuable citizen of the world.