During one of our first days at SAMUHA we were each given a list of children that we would treat during home visits. The children live in various villages surrounding Koppal. The CBR workers from SAMUHA make routine visits to assess and treat these children in their homes. Often it is difficult for the children and their families to attend therapy at SAMUHA, so the home visits are a great alternative for treatment. We all get very excited for home visit days because it is an opportunity to see the children function in their home environments and to explore the small villages that we would not otherwise experience.
The day typically begins by either hoping on the back of a motorcycle with a CBR worker or cruising to the villages by jeep. The scenic drives through rice patty fields, sugar cane fields and sunflower fields are always beautiful. There are cows and buffalo to dodge in the middle of the roads and herds of hundreds of sheep blocking intersections…. there is never a dull moment in the chaotic Indian streets. When we arrive at a home we are welcomed by dozens of locals who are all curious to see the “foreigners” visiting their village. The families will lay down a blanket on the ground either indoors or outside and we will begin our therapy session. The word spreads quickly when the “foreigners“ arrive and within minutes we are surrounded by families, friends, neighbors, local villagers, and of course cattle.
The CBR workers provide us with the child’s history and information about their condition and previous treatment. We view their medical records, x-rays, and even tissue samples that they are sometimes given from the hospital. The sessions provide an excellent opportunity for us to learn from the knowledgeable CBR workers and we provide them with additional therapy suggestions. Our goal in the sessions is to share information and skills with the CBR workers and to practice therapy techniques with families so that they can continue rehab at home. We have treated children with cerebral palsy, autism, malnutrition, developmental delay, mental disability, amputees, and many more. Some of the children haven’t received medical attention until late childhood therefore; their conditions have progressed significantly. Regardless of the condition or the child’s status, the CBR workers provide therapy in hopes of helping the child reach their maximal functional capacity so they can develop and participate in their community.
We have been amazed by the generosity and welcoming nature of all of the families we have visited. Even in homes where resources are scarce, they still offer food and drinks to their guests. Most of the homes offer tea saturated with sugar during each session. When the tea is served, everything stops. It is tea time only. After visiting 7-8 homes we all surpass our sugar threshold, but we still accept the tea to be polite. Some of the families offer us endless amounts of food like rice dishes, idly (fluffy rice cakes) with coconut chutney, and fresh crispy deep-fried chilly peppers. We are always stuffed after a day of home visits. At the end of the visits we wave goodbye to the crowds of villagers and head back to SAMUHA. Home visit days are always fulfilling and provide an opportunity to connect with the children and their families in their typical environment. It is very useful to observe children in their homes to help address their functional needs in the most effective ways possible. – Sara, Josina, Madison, and Krysta (Physiotherapy Students)