Personal Struggles (Kalim)

We’re coming to the last days of our amazing time here in China. I’d like to share with you some of the physical challenges I faced during our time in Mein Yang. As you may or may not know I have severe excema, it encompasses nearly my entire body. My arms hands and neck suffer the most.
I’m allergic to nearly everything, nuts being the most prominent allergy. Prior before coming to China, I had an intense allergic reaction to some breaded fried Chicken I ate in Cardiff. It was so bad that my excema spread to places that were uninfected, something I have never encountered or witnessed before. The upward climb of recovery became an ongoing struggle for several weeks. My dear mother was like an Angel from heaven, her constant compassion and care became like a healing remedy by itself.

Consequently the one thing I’ve learnt is that the water here is very unclean. I have to use water purifying tablets to cleanse the water otherwise I end up in a fit of itchiness. Unfortunately I learnt this lesson out in Mein Yang. At first I thought it was the food combined with the hot weather but I was greatly mistaken. I remember some nights I would scratch myself to sleep, my legs and neck suffered the most, it felt like a shadow constantly tormenting me. But I would not give up no matter how hard it became. In one of the workshops I remember sitting on a little red stool gazing into the pure faces of the Chinese children as they intently absorbed the stories of the tragic earthquake. This confirmed my determination to stick with the project no matter how difficult the coping mechanism became.

But despite all of this, the team cared for me in a way that brought me much happiness and ease. One of the team leaders named Hoogan, me and Fleur nicknamed him uncle Hoogan because of his constant care and consideration. He is like a bright light in a dark cave, ever caring for us in any possible fashion. Throughout the few weeks it didn’t feel like a team but a family. Even the volunteers became like brothers and sisters to me. My pain was their pain, my discomfort was their discomfort. This pure empathy became emotionally healing for me. Also the love of my sister helped heal my wounds.

If I have do this project all over again knowing the physical burden I had to face then I would say HELL YEAH!!! This is one experience I’d NEVER forget, and I would do it a hundred times just to gain the same experience.


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