I have been following Friends of Ganga Prem Hospice on Facebook for about a year now. Found it during one of my dreaming states of doing hospice work in India. You should check it out and “like” it. So when we decided Rishikesh would be our first stop in India for a month…well how could I resist? I couldn’t stay away. Really, a new hospice facility that just opened in June in the same place that was our first stop in India? I think some might call that a sign. Well I did! ; )
I decided I wanted to donate the money that the hospice team gave me for our travels to Ganga Prem Hospice (GPH). Once we got to Rishikesh and settled into our room we have rented ($225 for the month) I did a little more research and discovered that the new hospice facility is about 40 minutes away in a town called Raiwala. I send an email to a contact I found on the website to ask if we could visit and make the donation. Pooja responded quickly and was very friendly and helpful. Of course, as is the reply to most things in India, yes….we can go. She also introduced me via email to Dr Brenda, a long time volunteer physician from the UK.
Excited to venture to the new hospice facility; we had a little walk, took a vikram, then after some phone calls with Pooja, realized we should not walk through the jungle…there have been lions, tigers, and elephants spotted. The hospice vehicle was not yet available. So, we caught a ride with the next vehicle we saw headed into the jungle. That was a fun adventure in and of itself!
David in the front with 2 guys and me standing on the back of the truck with another 5 guys or so. They got us through the jungle part, dropped us as far as they were headed in our direction, and we walked the rest of the way.
We had a great tour- to check out Drew’s room click here… had lunch with the group of volunteers there. To check out the kitchen tour click here. We met Nani Ma (founder and spiritual head), and made a plan to volunteer weekly for our remaining time in Rishikesh.
I met Dr Brenda later that day in Rishikesh for chai and had a great time talking for a couple hours about GPH and ideas of what David and I could do to help while here. A couple days later I meet with more staff and volunteers to discuss what we could all do in the limited time we have in Rishikesh.
David and I will offer staff support this Thurday and meet with a few of the patients at the facility. I will attend the volunteer training planned for all day Sunday to help out where needed. We are offering an adult bereavement session next week and a kids bereavement session the weekend after. David will provide some yoga and relaxation for staff and patients.
I could give you lots of info about the history and services GPH provides but instead I encourage you to check out their website here. Please consider coming here to volunteer at GPH or make a donation!