Farewell Karuna

by Luke, in India
8th June, 2009

Bruce got upset today because I called him Navender. It’s a great name and Bruce Navender has a ring to it. I think he’s secretly getting into the whole new identity thing.

I’m getting mobbed by the beggars here, none of the crew are getting touched or grabbed whilst I seem to be quite popular on the street. No one messes with Adam, they all love Marc’s beard whilst Bruce is virtually a local now with his new name. I on the other hand must have a target on back or something. One beggar swooped up beside me in the back of a tuk tuk the other afternoon and literally lunged from the backseat onto the edge of the street, army rolled across the busy road and made a double handed grab for my legs. Pretty impressive as he did it all on his hands. The others think that, despite it being incredibly sad to see so many people like this, me being a magnet for every leper and street urchin is hilarious. I’m just not into the touching thing at all. The locals are very sceptical of the beggars here – they run the black market in loans to people who can’t borrow money from the banks and apparently some of them rent babies for 50 rupees a day to increase revenue from begging. I’m sure that isn’t the case with every baby I see strapped on the back of a poor mother and you would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the plight of these little children – but when hands start going for your pockets and you get absolutely crushed by a gang of them it gets a bit overwhelming.

Today was a big livestock community day in a rural village about 30mins drive from town. Karuna did an incredible job – over 200 animals treated, and it was fantastically run by a very professional and dedicated crew.

I gave a hand (or arm) with pregnancy diagnosing a lot of the buffalo, and I just think the charity do such a great job. I may disagree with Clementien on a couple of cases in terms of keeping that going but that must not detract from the fact that she is doing fantastic work. Without her there would be no one for hundreds of kilometres and no animal gets turned away, every animal gets a chance and she is making a difference. The fact she meets every difficult decision head on is really admirable and I really support and believe in what she has done and is doing here. I definitely won’t forget this visit in a hurry and it has been a privilege to work with her and her team.

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