Activities at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying and Destitute

By Dawn Larson

  • My Experience
  • Photos

In order to provide some form of exercise for the residents, each day we would take a rubber ball about the size of a volleyball and play ball with the residents in the courtyard, first on the women's side and then on the men's side. Some of them were actually quite good, except for the fact that they kept hitting the ball on the roof and then someone would have to go and retrieve it. We would also have coloring sessions. Some of the residents colored their pages perfectly and others would just fill the page with scribbles. Both the men and the women looked forward to both of these activities every day. They learned to say "Ball" and "Color" and would usually request it as soon as we arrived. The ladies loved to have their nails polished so we would do that a couple of days each week. We also brought lotion and rubbed their arms, hands, legs, and feet. The men shied away from that activity. There was a little park on the grounds so a couple of times each week we would take the residents (most of the time, it was just the women) and walk back to the park and just spend some time outside. All the residents absolutely loved having their picture taken and I took quite a few. Lunch was at 11:30 and we would help feed a few of the residents that were unable to feed themselves. And by the time we finished that, our driver would be there at noon to take us back to our flat.

We only spent 3 1/2 hours at our placement each day but by the time noon rolled around, we were pretty tired. The heat was draining and the female residents were clinging to us most of the time, grabbing us to play ball, polish their nails, or apply lotion. They just wanted to be close to us. Often we would just sit with them and touch their arm or hold their hand and they were happy. They relished the attention. It was so rewarding just being there and trying to put a little sunshine into their day and give them something to look forward to. And it was good for us also to see their wide smiles when we arrived each day and to get all the hugs. Our last day was more emotional than I thought it would be. We had formed a bond with so many of them and it was sad to know we wouldn't see them again. I think they were a bit sad too in seeing us leave.

Additional Info:

Trip Duration: 3 Weeks
Country: India
When: September 2008
Travel Provider: Cross-Cultural-Solutions
Volunteer Experience Type: Human Services / Education

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