Namaste from ‘the new Annie’

After traveling for about 24 continuous hours, I arrived in Jamkhed last Monday morning around 7 am. I was relieved to see buildings and flags displaying the CRHP logo; I was beyond eager to finally reach my destination.

Annie found me wandering in the small quad and brought me into her room where she was just starting to do some laundry. She had just returned to Jamkhed after a trip north to Ladaak where she was camping and trekking for a couple of days. Annie is all smiles and immediately took me under her wing: bringing me to breakfast at Vishnu’s (the head of construction at CRHP, he lives a mere 1 minute walk down a dirt road next to CRHP; he is incredibly kind and fatherly), introducing me to the cohort of interns and fellows (there are 7 others), June course students (about 10 total students from Emory, Duke and Mt. Sinai universities here to learn about the Jamkhed model of healthcare), and, of course, staff members, giving me an unofficial, extremely animated tour of campus, and inviting me to move into her room with her after we realized the room that I was supposed to move into had a mice problem. Phew.

Myself and Annie, and our matching skirts, before heading off to the staff retreat

How awful of me to not say exactly who Annie is! Besides an instant mentor and friend, she is the current Elon Fellow at CRHP. She has had an amazing year in Jamkhed and it is exciting to talk to her about the work she has done for CRHP and the people she has befriended all around India. Confident and caring, she is the intern’s go-to for any and all questions and Ravi’s right hand woman. Annie is leaving early next week and so I have assumed the role of her shadow: following her to staff meetings, looking over her shoulder as she teaches me to navigate the intern dropbox and other administrative tasks, imitating her do-your-laundry-in-a-bucket tactics… you get the picture. I am trying to soak up all the knowledge I can! She will leave me big shoes to fill, which is ironic to say because she rarely wears even sandals.

Last Thursday was the final of four staff retreats and I am extremely grateful to have been able to attend. The purpose of the retreat is for staff members to come together, reflect deeply on CRHP’s mission and vision, realign oneself to those principles as commissioned by Drs Raj and Mabelle (the founders of CRHP), and recharge. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know some of the staff, and their openness and eagerness to participate in team building activities, share anecdotes and ideas for future CRHP projects, and express their opinions in thoughtful presentations, song and dance, was heartening and, simply put, fun.

Each and every person at CRHP astounds me, and I am impatient and enthusiastic to take on projects, work side by side with the Indian and international staff, and engage and learn about all aspects of CRHP, especially the hospital, the farm, the adolescent girls program… who am I kidding I want to do everything! Each of the different programs is a puzzle piece of comprehensive health care, the unique health system that relies on development as equally as it does medicine, and I am only just gathering the pieces.

the walk to the Julia Hospital – CRHP’s 50-bed hospital

baby goats on the wall outside of CRHP 

On a fun note, we will be celebrating Independence Day tonight! “But it’s July 8th!” you say. Lesson number one about India: Indian Standard Time is actually Indian Stretching Time, so a little late is right on time. Annie and I are heading into town later today to get some ingredients for mango salsa and spinach and artichoke dip, and to pick up my clothes from the tailor!

Until next time, I encourage you to check out CRHP’s website and sign up for the newsletter – perhaps there will even be a post written by yours truly!

More pictures to come, I promise!

5 thoughts on “Namaste from ‘the new Annie’

  1. So glad you made it to India safely and that you’re having such a nice time!

    Hope you have a WONDERFUL 8th of July celebration!

  2. Alyssa,
    I absolutely loved reading your post!! It all sounds so wonderful there (aside from the mouse infestation problem of course). I am so proud of you and miss you so much!! You are such an asset and they are all so lucky to have you there for the year. Looking forward to reading your future posts!!

    Love,
    Mallory

  3. Alyssa, you are amazing! What great energy and enthusiasm you have for every experience in your new setting! Love to you from NJ. Aunt Sue

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