Reflections from a First Time Visitor

by Mollie Nebel

Menno Clinic is a place I have known of for many many years, but never had the opportunity to visit beforehand. Lee, however, visited Menno Clinic for the first time about 5 years ago as an extension to a study abroad opportunity (while obtaining his masters degree). Knowing we were going to be in India for an extended period of time this summer for work related projects, Menno Clinic was on the list of places we wanted to travel to together. Beyond previous connections to Menno Clinic, we also both work in health-related careers, sparking additional interest in seeing the work they are doing in their village of Chiluvuru and surrounding villages. We were fortunate enough to spend one full week at Menno Clinic.

Upon arrival we were immediately greeted with an abundance of hospitality, a homemade Southern Indian breakfast, and introductions to Ammama and some of the staff. This was greatly appreciated after a long overnight train ride into Tenali. The generous hospitality and delicious food were continued themes throughout our stay. We can’t thank Ammama, the cooks, and additional staff for being such great hosts and making us feel right at home. Being a nurse myself, I had the opportunity to contribute during the clinical hours alongside the other nurses. It has been such a privilege seeing the ins and outs of nursing in another culture, both at Menno Clinic, and in other settings. Although nursing may look entirely different at first glance, the underlying principles of service and holistic care remain, and this has been a humbling experience in itself. The additional eye and dental clinics were also a joy to visit, seeing first hand all the work they are doing for the people of Chiluvuru.

Another highlight of the week was showing up to the clinic one morning as usual to find out several of the ladies had joined together to bring all the necessities needed for the traditional attire for an Indian woman. This included a beautiful sari, earrings, necklaces, bangles, and hair accessories. The ladies spent a good portion of the morning dressing me up, doing my hair, and finding the right jewelry combinations. It was fun being a part of the Indian culture in a way I hadn’t yet experienced, and I think fun was had by all. Lee and I both want to sincerely thank all of those at Menno Clinic for such a great week.

Do you want to visit Menno Clinic?

One of the goals we have is to bring as many of our donors and friends to see and experience the life of the Clinic and meet the community in Chiluvuru. As a Board, we try to send representatives at least two times a year, so our planning can be flexible. The best months to visit are December through February and we will help to guide you through the process from visas and orientation to introducing you to our friends, partners, and neighbors in Chiluvuru. If you want more information on joining us on a visit to Chiluvuru, send us an email at mennoclinic@gmail.com or connect with us on Facebook.

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