This Sunday I was involved as a volunteer for the Pulse Polio Vaccination campaign that is held throughout the country at regular intervals.
So my roommate, Antara, and I sacrificed our only day off (this Sunday), to sit at one of the many vaccination booths set up around the city. From 8 a.m. in the morning to 5 p.m. Yes! Phew! Although I didn't expect many parents to come, given the lack of information and far-flung location (a government school situated in the interiors, in a neighbourhood I had never been to) but pleasantly enough by the end of the day we vaccinated around 120 kids!
It did get pretty dull in the afternoon though, but the lazy hours when no people were coming in, we entertained ourselves with dogs, cats and goats...with petting and random biscuit feeding. I guess they were happy too. And some drawing by Antara, and ofcourse me as usual troubling her every now and then. Haha :P
Yesterday was a door to door campaign though. Around 200 houses to be covered by a team consisting of two people (we were alloted different areas to cover)... Gosh! What a day!! Walking around in the sun all day long, knocking on doors, talking to people, giving those 2 drops to every kid upto 5 years in sight....even running behind a few on the streets... Gosh! Mighty mighty task..
The bad part:
A total energy sucking thing. Dehydration, hunger, foot aches and back aches..(that are still being experienced). But these were the small things.
What actually got to me was the really unwelcome behaviour by some families. They had issues coming out or giving us their names. Some didnt want to get their kids vaccinated (claiming it wasn't necessary and shooing us away), while a few were all for giving wrong information "we don't have kids" or "yes,yes, they were vaccinated yesterday".
It was really frustrating to see people behave like this even when the government was taking steps to eradicate a horrible preventable disease like Polio and spending so much money on a completely free vaccination programe! The government cannot succeed if its people don't meet it halfway!
The best part:
The great feeling when the day ended.. We did something that would help the children of our country! (Even if it was small scale coverage by us, but there were many other volunteers out there and a significant part of the state benefited from their efforts. We put in our bit, whatever it's worth. That made us feel really happy).
This Sunday, I was a responsible citizen of my country. This Sunday, I was a shield against Polio. This Sunday, I helped protect the lives of our next generation. If that's not an accomplishment, then I don't know what is.
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson