My eyes couldn’t resist the plight of needy children and families on the streets of Bombay (Mumbai). I was spending $12.50 per day feeding about 25 children whose families lived under a bridge. Then I moved out of the hotel and away from the children.
I worried about them but simply couldn’t get back every day. I have taken people with me who come to visit who also help with food, but not too often. Then, some people in the church asked if I could take a 12 year old boy who needed food, clothes and an education. I agreed to try it for a weekend. Here he is in all un retouched photos from the night I got him and then after thirty days:
Cary was pitiful. Eyes withdrawn deep into empty sockets, waifish arms, legs and bony face and body. I was moved with pity but also grew to love him. I told our house mother, “Feed him, feed him, feed him.” I affectionately call him “Care Bear” or just plain “Bear” for short.
Cary again at ninety days later in a self portrait with my digital camera:
Cary at Ninety Days
“Bear” had a cousin, Donal, about a year younger whom the doctor told me would die in two years from tuberculosis. Would I take him too? The dimple on his left cheek choked out any possible, “No’s.” One year of Ayurvedic medication and lots of prayers, however, has made him OK. He’s “Buster,” or “Bus” for short, and lives up to his name!
Donal “Sleeping Beauty” with His Teddy Bear
I taught these children the “ABC’s” and had them memorize the vowel sounds on flash cards and also all the math tables of + – X / through the 12′s. Quite some time later we were given a gift for their education called, “Robinson Curriculum.” Then about a year later our boys received Robinson Curriculum’s recommended “Saxon Math” books. And boy (!) do the children ever love them. Can you imagine kids liking math? Well, they do! They are soaring, thanks to you. THANK YOU!
“Bus” jumped ahead without knowing any English. He was amazing. Only four years later (2008), both are in great health & speak fluent American English and their two native languages. They have won their neighborhood friends to also speak English. Every parent wants their children educated in an “English Medium” school for a bright future, and all the children have been influenced to speak English in their play. More about these children in future blogs, together with videos.
After about a year with the children we acquired, David, my same age who had gangrene in his left foot, ready to die. I couldn’t get anyone to go live with and take care of him – even if I paid them, because the stink was over whelming. I gritted my teeth and brought him home. I could not stand the thought I would hear that he had died when I could have done “something.” He had already lost all the toes on that foot and had a HUGE stinking, raw hole making his heel bone clearly visible. I’ve been warned to leave his pictures out, although they are available for anyone who is interested.
At that time, my business faltered due to unreasonable VISA restrictions, changes in the Home Security laws, and also due to the scarcity of visas, but I couldn’t drag myself away from these children and India. Therefore, India has became my adopted country. (In April 2007, I finally spent all I had left on this project, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life, and God has sustained us so that we have never missed a meal.)
The bad smell of David’s foot made our neighbors quit visiting us, but we kept doors and windows open, and I dressed the septic bandages. David has type II diabetes – which I also have. We used the last of my blood test strips to measure his blood sugar and administered insulin, and put him on a huge dosage of antibiotics. At first, his foot got worse, with new wounds starting up his leg!
You may think I was crazy, but I have the proof in pictures to show that (1) cutting away the dead or dying tissue (he had no feelings), and (2) swabbing the entire wound with sterile saline solution, and (3) applying a small mixture of pure honey and grocery store turmeric directly upon the wound, together with a saline moistened sterile gauze pad and dressing, and he began a granular growth, and eventually a closing of the wound. One day, he walked away from here on that foot.
Other projects include teaching others English, working with several who have alcohol, substance and sexual addictions, with some great success stories, and many, many one on one studies.
Pragati, (right) is a teen girl, for whom we got braces (because of a badly injured mouth and teeth suffered when she was little), together with food, clothing and medicine. She now needs reconstructive surgery of the jaw. She’s a beautiful girl until you look at her mouth, but you should have seen it three years ago! The dentist warned before we started that he would be able to go only so far, until surgery corrected the problem, for which the cost is about $3,750.
The children and I prayed nightly for a bungalow where they may play and have pets. God gave us a row house with plenty of surrounding country side, mountains, river, forest, etc. The locals call this area “the jungle.” We all love it very much. Please have a look to see our River House “the way it was.” One could accurately say as the title of the movie, “A River Runs Through It.”
See fiwl “River Houses” at http://youtube.com/results?search_query=fiwl&search_type=
We have taken in guests who needed food and shelter for limited periods of time, one of which has successfully training for a job with the air lines. He has now moved back to Andhra Pradesh to seek his future. Another one living with us now is being treated for mental illness and seems to be recovering very nicely.
The purchase of ground for a building, garden and animals should become a reality by March 2009, and our prayers envision a place which would have 150 acres or more, with buildings / out buildings we would build ourselves.
Our goals include having a Rammed Earth bungalow and out buildings. There is a school at Pondicherry in Auroville, Tamil-Nadu who will teach us how. It’s an ancient form of building in India which is actually catching on, particularly the US Southwest.
Other green earth attitudes would prevail. We would then have the ability to educate rural children in an English Medium Standard. Their parents would nearly fight to get their children enrolled. AND with the Robinson Curriculum we can take several hundred if we had the indoor facilities to do so. Such facilities are simply adequate light, water/toilet and ventilation, bench, and kitchen for a mid-day hot meal.
We would like high school graduates to come on a six month visa to merely over see the Robinson Curriculum. The student helper would be paid $10 for the term plus room and board on a legal contract. He/she would have to raise their own support to come, but they would have time off to do some sight seeing. During any building processes we would like to encourage high-school students and adults to come for a group working trip.
Check out Cary’s video on Parkour: “India Parkour!”
Also check out, “Donal Takes On Discovery Channel!”
We can be reached at India Missions – P.O. Box 1448 – Hamilton, AL 35570. We are only asking God to supply our needs, but those He moves to help may send Checks or Money Orders made out to “India Missions” with “DON WOOD” in the memo. Payments through PayPal can be made to don [dot] wood [dot] 777 [at] gmail.com
Finally, we have many other dreams and love to have guests. Our “River House” home is small, but has room for over night stays with western accommodations. My breakfast is one of the best in the world – even if I do say so myself. The only catch is, you have to bring two pounds of smoked bacon. :) Come and allow us to show you the wonders of India.
God bless you,
don . wood . 777 @ gMail.com