Working volunteers are welcome to bring someone along with them. There
is much to see and do within the confines of the Research Institute and many
local places of great historic interest.
Local places of great historic interest...
Local places of great historic interest...
Visits to schools and villages
are organised with transport and guidance. Usually there are a few visitors
at the same time so they can make up a touring party. Most visitors are
fascinated to see how the work of the unit progresses particularly in
the rural villages. Accomodation can usually be arranged but it is wise
to discuss possible dates and functions with Dr Naresh Sharma
Accomodation at Chitrakoot...
Costs are low at about £30 per day in Chitrakoot. It is
wise to plan well ahead since the cheapest airfares require booking well ahead.
Chitrakoot Project, A personal view by Mr David Hutchison, Consultant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Having been employed in the Dental/Oral Surgery/Maxillofacial surgery fields for the last forty
years I thought I had experienced most of what the career has to offer. I have enjoyed my time
greatly and on retirement from the NHS Hospital Service as a Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon
I felt I would like to give something back but was not sure how to do it. My good friend of
many years, Naresh Sharma mentioned the Chitrakoot Project. He explained that the objective
is to bring all aspects of Dental and Maxillofacial care to one of the poorest parts of
rural India without cost to the patients and as near to their homes as possible. This
seemed to be the sort of challenge I was seeking so I went to India as part of the team
in February 2007. We pay our own travel expenses to India but these are not great. We
went in late Spring when the temperature is around 25 degrees and the countryside looks
really beautiful, and before the rains fall. I had the privilege of working at the
central clinic in Chitrakoot initially, and saw untreated cleft palates, cancers and
routine oral surgery problems. The surgeries are well equipped and we worked to the
best of Western standards. This gave me a chance to meet real patients and get
some grasp of the culture and language. This was followed by visits to a few
of the 500 surrounding villages to carry out treatment on site.
Whole new experience working from a sun lounger with minimal equipment
and an audience of dozens of patients and their families
This was a whole new experience working from a sun lounger with minimal equipment and an
audience of dozens of patients and their families. In the immediate background were cows,
buffalos, dogs, monkeys and the odd parrot watching from a tree.
At each village with up to 2000 residents we would see approximately 90 waiting
for treatment. We were introduced by a "graduate couple" being a husband and wife
team who undertake to live in the villages for 5 years to bring organizational
and educational skills, settle disputes and interface with the outside world.
They were delightful very talented people and made our visits very easy and
efficient. The welcome from the villagers was quite moving with a small
ceremony of blessing and children singing at the start of each session. One
of the Dental Graduates from Chitrakoot came with us to work and when
translation was needed would, with the graduate couple, solve any
communication problems. Most of the time a big smile and a lot of
body language did the trick. Most patients were understandably apprehensive
for their previous experiences of treatment did not include pain relief
with local anaesthesia. The first patient I removed a tooth for was still
waiting for the pain after the extraction had been done. A hundred pairs
of eyes must have been watching so when I held up the extracted tooth a huge
cheer and clapping greeted the event and a few more joined the queue!
Great experience treating the needy....
It is strange to work without formality but we do keep the patient's name and record
of what has been done. Most treatment was extraction or simple filling or scaling and
we were able to arrange for more complicated problems to go to the central clinic
where Xray is available. We maintain sterility to Western standards with a
generator driven autoclave, rubber gloves and disposable needles and take
away our clinical waste for safe disposal. We work until every patient
has been seen then go for a stroll round the village. Most villages are
idyllic and the children in particular followed us everywhere we went. If
you like to see animals treated with respect,and as friends, this is
the place to be.
Words cannot really describe this experience, it certainly changes one's perspective
on life and brings back the thrill of making people better with skills which are often
go underused and unappreciated. The gratitude of these lovely people is overwhelming
and is the greatest reward I have experienced in the last forty years in the profession.
For those of you who want a break from an incompetent, ignorant, unsympathetic and
arrogant Department of Health ,try a couple of weeks in the real world doing what
you were trained to do. There are no targets and no managers. A bonus of a visit is
the chance to see Rural India as no tourist will see it. The culture and religion
is embedded in all that goes on and the people are proud and happy to show what they
have achieved. I have come away much better informed about global matters
and the world in general.
Happy kids of Chitrakoot...
I am planning to visit again in October and in the meantime will help with fund raising and
collecting as much equipment as possible. We particularly need extraction forceps,
local anaesthetic syringes, rubber gloves and it would be great to have portable xray
equipment in the villages. This is technically possible but expensive.
Chitrakoot Project, A personal experience by S K Gautam
My time in Chitrakoot was a great one. Having been before I knew what it would be like but
I think every return feels fresh and is a new adventure.
I was very well looked after and had excellent food, accommodation and transport.
The facilities are superb and I found working in Chitrakoot was so refreshing. The
people really appreciated the assistance I gave. To be able to help these people
was a real privilege for me.
Varun and the team really were a pleasure to work with and to travel
with. The village visits, of which there were 2, were tremendously
rewarding and humbling. Chitrakoot has been an experience in which
I feel I have seen the "real" India and I know tourists want to see
this side but sadly never find it. I felt very calm and relaxed
Helping in this way certainly makes me feel a better person. People
say it must be rewarding, and it is, but it feels like your soul
is being soothed. It is difficult to put into words what it
feels like but it is a trip I would not miss for the world. I think it
should be remembered that it is not all work and the area is
spiritual and special, being on the banks of the Ganges with
breathtaking places and views.
Chitrakoot Project, Personal View, Julien Bory dental Laboratory Technician and Asia Traveller.
The United Emirates attracted me only in order to find a sea lin to reach India. I note the wealth of Dubai
against the poverty I am to find in India.The crazy urbanisation of the Emirates is impressive. I
look for somewhere to sleep the night and hear the builders up early to disturb the night. I don't
think for one moment to knock at the door of one of these iron and cement giant. I find the
sand beach and the company of the dromedaries that sleep there much more attractive. I am now on my way to India.
India is a shock for me. All what I have read or heard could not have prepared me for this first day.It's when I
stepped down from the bus that I am assailed by the rickshaw drivers taxis (motorised and pedalled), the circulation,
the noise, the crowds , the smells and the ones who want to help me by directing me to shops they have an interest in.Then
there was this striking image of a man lying down naked in the dust waiting for death to free him from this suffering life.
This is how India appears to me this very first day like a ceaseless struggle land where one fights for some Rupees to
survive. If the rickshaw man make three rupees a day he may be happy but how exhausted. I lodge for three rupees a
night and eat meal for one rupee but one must not look at the quality of the hygiene, however the Indian food be
vegetarian fit me perfectly. One day in the restaurant I usually eat in I am amaze about the squirrel that has
jumped on my kness and I realise as he continues his way behind my back that it was a rat. I have never been
good to recognise animals.
I am now in Chitrakoot in one of the most poor parts of India. I have now been nearly two weeks in chitrakoot.
When I have arrived we have started with the few material available a removable activity.I also train to the
morphology and sculpting Mukesh the dental nurse and Bandana to prepare the future fixed activity. I think
the first material needefd is a handpiece and micromotor ,the one that Mukesh bring is heavy and not permit a
precise work but it was enough to start.
The dental technique is a dirt activity that generate lots of dust. I ask the Chitrakoot
carpenter to to make a box for grinding then we can put a sucker in and keep the room clean.I have
some sponsor who offer the send material when I see the need. I have planned to come back to Chitrakoot
on my way back from Cambodia nearly January and perhaps stay a couple of months to help start the
fixed activity. The Brazilian Company who are going to help have a seller in India. I am
now in Vranasi, tomorrow in Calcutta then I will reach Burma and Thialand . I will do
volunteer work in a Lab in Cambodia then back by Vietnam, China and India for January.