Rev. Kerstin Oderhem, Rev. Erik Johansson were visiting from Sweden, an organization called EFS which is a mission arm of the Church of Sweden. Rev. Kerstin is the General Secretary and Rev. Erik the International Director. Erik and I have missed one another at Padhar for years - met on Zoom and now in person. EFS has a long history with Padhar and ELC in MP. (Ev. Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh)
Dr. Rajiv Choudhrie, me, Rev. Kerstin, Dr. Lisa Choudhrie and Rev. Erik during the Hindi worship service.
Drs. Rajiv and Deepa Choudhrie. Rajiv is the Medical Superintendent, as well as a skilled plastic surgeon and Deepa is a radiologist. I'd known Deepa's family for years and cared for her mom when she died almost 20 years ago. I started visiting Padhar in 2009 and helped develop a relationship with the ELCA (the church of my ordination). Rajiv and Deepa are good friends.
Under Rajiv's leadership Padhar has ventured into many different areas - where there is a need - let's see what Padhar can do.
When covid 19 arrived in Padhar and PPE (protective gear) was unavailable, Padhar made their own!
Dr. Johann Ebenezer, psychiatrist, developed a community based program to deal with mental health issue. Project ‘Shifa’, the Community Mental Health (CMH) project at Padhar Hospital is a project designed to screen, identify and facilitate treatment and community re-integration of patients with mental illnesses and epilepsy in a specified target area of 75 poverty-stricken villages within a radius of approximately 30 km around Padhar Hospital. It is currently running on a limited budget financed entirely by personal donations from well-wishers. The team consists of the consultant psychiatrist, a project office coordinator, ten community field workers and nursing students posted in the department of psychiatry on rotation.
This photo is from 2014. In 2011, I had the honor to be the Chief Guest - that was the first capping of the first class of this new nursing school. I mentioned that I underwent a similar ceremony 37 years ago at the age of 19. It was a class of 40 here in Padhar - about the size of my class, I think we graduated 43. There were 6 men in this class – 3 in mine.
The College of Nursing - first batch of GNM (three year diploma nurses) in 2011 and opened a four-year BSN (bachelors in nursing) in 2014. They now have 40 students in each incoming class. Most students stay for 3 years after graduation and this has really helped with the nursing shortage and offering young women and men a "good job" with a future.
I often give a lecture on Palliative Nursing when I visit and I did that this time with a group of 80.
The Rt. Rev. Surendra Sukka is the new Bishop of the Ev. Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh. (ELC in MP) He follows Bishop Emanuel Panchoo who died in 2021 of COVID 19. I had a chance to meet the new bishop and have lunch with him along with the "Swedes."
The ELC in MP is celebrating their 100th anniversary on the 9th of February.