Finding My Voice
My personal vision for my life includes impacting my community and reaching out to others beyond the places I know firsthand. The first step for me in achieving this ideal mental picture is to know myself and how my strengths and passions might help others. Next, I envision assisting others to find their “something” – that piece of change that calms their heart and reassures them they are on the right path. I dream of helping women who are searching to find the “something” that makes them clench their fists in victory as they walk up the stairs from their basement.
I believe all of us are given strengths that are meant to be used to help others. My optimism is fueled by the people I meet every day doing jobs of great importance with deep enthusiasm. I’ve meet many women over the past four weeks who prove my hypothesis and are using their gifts to do all sorts of good. I also count Srinivasan as my friend, so, once again, my premise holds true.
Srinivasan is a thirty-five year old, single male from Tamil Nadu, India. He is a member of the lowest caste, the Dalits,and because he was born with a malformed ankle and foot, his chances of marriage are diminished. He lives in a rural town and works in the only public general hospital in the state with a ward for patients with HIV/AIDS. Usually patients with HIV/AIDS in Namakkal would have to travel the 362 kilometers to Chennai to find a hospital that would treat them. It was 11:00 at night by the time we made it to the hospital wing. There was not a piece of medical equipment in sight, but I did see a slight, steadfast man leaning over a bed and comforting a woman too weak to sit up. He smiled at our arrival and limped over to us in an approach that looked very painful. To me, there seemed little to smile about, but Srini’s grin was enormous. He was proud to introduce each patient and explain their predicament. He was forthright but gentle as he told their stories’ in front of them. The patients, too, offered their own accounts of the happenings of the day – how even when Srini’s misshapen foot ached, he comforted them. They bragged about how he had entertained each of them on their arrival to the ward with stories and songs to calm their fears. My doctor friend who accompanied me informed me that some of the doctors and nurses avoided this wing like the plague, so Srini was often the sole provider of care for long stretches of time. Srini’s pay was not consistent because a local NGO paid his salary, and they did not always have the money. However, Srinivasan wanted to make sure the women, men and children where provided with care, so he continued. Srini would not talk of his long hours or lack of pay, but he did emphasize what an honor and joy it was to work with the people in his charge.
Knowing Srini has helped me gain a truer perspective on life. I would like to share what I know about him with readers and see if he inspires others as he does me.
I have many accounts of unbelievable women, too! My vision for my community and the world is based on the belief that a woman’s love for others and specifically a mother’s love for her children are the strongest forces in the world. This love makes us want to do better. If harnessed, it can change the world – one little “something” at a time.
Being a Voices of Our Future Correspondent would give me the education and hands on training I need to share the story of the women of ONE MOTHER and others more effectively. I believe the narratives are gifts my friends and acquaintances have given me, and I know I can learn to present them in a manner that will inspire. I will find my voice.