Presentation in Balesa

The 3rd day of medical camp started a little different. We went to Balesa, a village very close to Khambhat where the Lion’s Club of Khambhat had set up the camp at a Hindu/Sufi temple. We were expecting at least 250 people but the morning started out a bit slow. Ilaben, Bipin Uncle’s wife and Ushaben, Thakore Uncle’s wife and also Deepaliben, Pareshbhai’s wife also joined me as I set up the materials at my station. Pareshbhai is the one who organized for all the doctors from California to visit the CCC. I had a nurse help me as the mammography tech couldn’t be with me. I did a few small sessions and small groups of women gathered. There were more men than women today so Ilaben suggested that we go to a school while we were waiting. Milindbhai got on the phone and called the principal at one of the local schools and we were on our way.

When we got to the school the principal and about 80-90 girls were all ready for our presentation. They were all so curious about what I was going to asy and show them. First I just talked about hygiene and when menstruation starts how to keep their bodies clean. I also went over body odor and how to keep under arms clean, especially when temperatures are high and perspiration happens. I also talked about basic hygiene like washing your hands every time they come home from outside. Ilaben was taking pictures and Ushaben was helping me with the lecture. We wanted to talk to them about sex and boys but knew it is not allowed without permission from parents in India. The Indian culture doesn’t allow conversations like that in schools. These were young girls so I asked them to share this information and explain breast awareness to their moms, older sisters, masis and neighbors but not as a scary message but just as a wakeup call for women.

Just before the bell rang I asked if anybody had any questions or concerns. Some of the girls came around me and with shyness. One asked if you can get cancer from wearing a black bra and I immediately responded with a “No”. She seemed to have received her information from a very misinformed source. Another young woman was quite concerned about her breast growing larger if she didn’t wear a bra. I advised her that you should wear a supportive, tight bra so if breasts are large they have enough support. The teachers were very happy that we came and talked to the girls about hygiene and cancer. They want us to come back and talk about sex but we’ll see…

We all went back to the temple and had lunch and then I was off to Navagam with Rajeshbhai, the Rotary president for a BCA presentation. It was village very small and their income is basically from sale of buffalo milk. The women of this village were very eager and interested in learning and listening to what I had to say. They asked all kinds of questions but we were a bit limited as men were present which made them very uncomfortable. The woman pictured below reading a leaflet was quite talkative and stayed until the end. I had a good talk with her and explained quite a lot and asked her to pass it on to her women friends. Navagam is a very friendly village with very loving people. The biggest concern with these women is money. The first question is always “How much will it cost?”. You can imagine what their income would be from selling buffalo milk. I assured them that if anybody had a concern, the Cardiac Care Center would help in that matter.

At 8:30 pm, we had a CME at the Lion’s Club. My presentation was 1st and it went quite well. All the guest physician’s went one by one to give talks on a variety of issues, including vascular surgeries, hyper tension, stage I and II diabetes and kidney function and dialysis.

At about 11:50 pm we went the Town Hall near the main tower of Khambhat for the Republic Day celebration. All the guests were invited by the Pres of Khambhat to honor us and welcome us for the humanity work we are all doing. It was very nice of them to give us this respect and honor.


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