A “New” Old Age Home in Tiruvannamalai

by

The Quality of Life Trust has been caring for elders who have no other support since 2006. Recently the Trust have been working on a small Old Age Home to house some of these old people.

In India, the primary support for old people is from their family, particularly the oldest son. But what happens to old people when there is no one to care for them? Perhaps the son has moved away to a big city, or has a problem with alcohol, or has died? Then the old people are basically abandoned and left on their own without any support, maybe without any place to live. It is these kinds of people that Quality of Life helps.

They found a small house, built for Indians. Rent was cheap, so for a poorly funded nonprofit trust, this is a good choice.

DSC03005

The house has three small rooms and a toilet. Not much living space, so the Trust decided to increase the space by building a thatched roof to expand the area that can be used.

In the photo below, workmen have started to build the thatched roof.

DSCN8535

An inside photo for the roof construction.

DSCN8537

Men are sitting on the bamboo poles that make the roof’s structure.

DSCN8543

They are tying woven coconut leaves onto the structure.

DSCN8546

Here is what it looks like, partially built.

DSCN8548

Men are working overhead. The man on the ground passes materials to the workers.

DSCN8551

DSCN8558

DSCN8559

DSCN8566

Two of the workmen.

DSCN8564

Now the roof has been finished. It will be waterproof, dry inside, when it rains. It will have ceiling fans installed, and will be pretty cool inside.

DSCN8574

Carol and Dhakshinamoorthy (of Quality of Life Trust) stand in the new part of the building.

DSCN8575

The next step is painting.

DSCN8946

DSCN8949

The outside will be repainted, too. Here it is before the repainting.

DSCN8953

And after new paint is applied.

DSCN8962

Paint on interior walls.

DSCN8963

DSCN8965

The next step is wiring for lights and fans.

It is a man and his son, maybe 12 years old, helping.

DSCN9138

Plastic tubing is cut and wired, and the wiring then brought out to wire up light fixtures.

DSCN9141

This is certainly different electrician’s work that you would see in the West.

DSCN9144

These workmen seem adept at walking on the poles.

DSCN9146

Plastic conduit tubing, cut to fit with a hacksaw.

DSCN9148

Work has to be done around the edges of the building to make sure that water runs out when it rains.

DSCN9150

Here is the new space, now wired for power.

DSCN9152

Another photo of the building. Small, right?

DSCN9155

Inside concrete work, helping to insure that it stays dry inside.

DSCN9156

A nice sign was also painted on the building.

DSCN9809

An Arunachala graphic painted in the corner of the sign.

DSCN9810

The fans have been installed now.

DSCN9811

DSCN9812

DSCN9813

While this work was going on Dhakshinamoorthy took me to a house about 3 km away.

DSCN0147

There is an old man and woman in the house. They have no family to care for them. The man hurt his leg, and now they have no food, and no one to help care for them. Dhakshinamoorthy wants to help. We all agree.

DSCN0149

There is a walker at the Old Age Home that is not being used. Maybe this will help the man. He cannot walk. I saw him as he crawled out of the house to a place outside where he could go to the bathroom. Seeing this makes me want to cry for this family.

DSCN0151

Back at the new Old Age Home, these are three of the people who will live in the new home.

DSCN0154

We have to get them beds now. So we go to town, to a good store in Tiruvannamalai.

DSCN0155

While they are looking at the beds, I see something that is fascinating. This is an electric bell ringing machine, that will be used in a shrine to ring pooja bells.

DSCN0158

Another device in this store is an electric grinder for home use.

DSCN0165

Many items in South Indian cookery are ground before use. In the center of this machine are a stone mortar and pestle. These are big labor saving devices over the manual ones that were used for thousands of years here.

DSCN0166

One kind of bed available is this steel bed, basically steel sheeting on a frame and legs, used as a bed. These are durable, but not too comfortable.

DSCN0162

Another kind of bed is this webbed bed on a tubular metal frame.

DSCN0164

They have decided on the webbed beds. A stack of them have been brought out.

DSCN0168

They sit on the beds to test them out.

DSCN0172

DSCN0178

Dhakshinamoorthy pays for the beds and mattresses.

DSCN0170

Below, a bed set up in the Old Age Home. Mattresses will be delivered soon.

DSCN0183

One of the men, Nataraj, tests out the bed.

DSCN0186

Another man tests a bed, too. He is happy. For him this is real luxury, not to sleep on a mat on the floor.

DSCN0193

He wants to try out the walker too. He does not need it, though. I think it is his wife standing behind him.

DSCN0196

Here is a photo of the completed home, with Arunachala in the background.

DSCN0403

Now it is time for the pooja, to officially open the new Old Age Home. Dhakshinamoorty’s son Nehruji brings in a picture of gods to use for the pooja.

DSCN0388

People are dressed in their best clothes for the pooja. Mattresses and pillows are now on the beds. A dormitory has been set up in the new room built by the thatching.

DSCN0391

Below, two of the old women who will live here, on the right, and Nataraj on the left. Of the people that the Trust started caring for six years ago, most have died and been replaced. Nataraj is one of the originals who still survives.

DSCN0393

A man and his wife sitting on the bed. I can’t imagine what happened in their lives that they are here now, in this home.

DSCN0394

Getting the pooja materials laid out.

DSCN0395

A brick has been turned into an altar. The gods sit in the background. For today’s pooja, gods have been made from brown mud, with a kind of sacred grass in the top. These are covered with yellow turmeric and red kumkum.

DSCN0399

A flower mala is given to the Gods.

DSCN0400

The camphor is lit and the flame offered to the gods.

DSCN0407

DSCN0409

Then the camphor flame is taken around so that everybody here can ‘Take the light’.

DSCN0411

DSCN0413

DSCN0416

And lastly, the flame is offered to Arunachala.

DSCN0418

Here are the men of the Quality of Life Trust, Ramesh, Dhakshinamoorthy, and I do not know the name of the man on the right.

DSCN0421

After the pooja, food is served to all.

DSCN0423

DSCN0424

DSCN0426

Nataraj will not let us give him a plate until everybody else has been served.

DSCN0429

We took a pooja plate to the elderly couple who live 3 km down the road that the Trust is now helping. They should be included, too. You can see the dressing on the man’s leg. We will take him to the doctor soon.

DSCN0434

This is really noble work that is done by this trust. These are people that the Indian society is not prepared to care for. I am thankful that there are people like Dhakshinamoorthy who will step up and make a difference in their lives. I am of an age that any of these men could be me, under different circumstances.

I also ask you to see if you can help support this effort. An easy way to do this is to use your PayPal account and send me (richard@infinitepie.net) a donation. I will make sure that the funds get to the Trust and is used for these old people. There are other ways you can donate. Send me an email and I will tell you how. Your donation will make a difference in the lives of these old people, as well as others elders cared for by the Trust who are not in these photos.

If you are in Tiruvannamalai you can donate in person at Sathya’s Cafe on Perumbakkam Road. The proprietor, Dhakshinamoorthy, is the force behind Quality of Life Trust.

Note: I will be travelling for the next month. If you do send me an email, I may not be able to answer quickly. I will answer, though.

Tags: , ,

7 Responses to “A “New” Old Age Home in Tiruvannamalai”

  1. Ramakrishna S Gunturu Says:

    Hyderabad, 15th October 2013.

    Sri Richard Clarke,

    Hara Hara Mahadeva.
    Many thanks for your inspiring article. I had today talked over phone to Sri Ramesh, and sending Rs.2,000 to the “Quality of Life Trust”. Your blog and article has inspired me to this small bit of service. Many thanks.
    Ramakrishna GS-9866521090.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Sri Ramakeishna,
      Thank you for helping. Good work is being done for these old people, and donations is what makes it all possible.

  2. Annika Päm Bergkvist Says:

    Oh how I love the quality of life trusts effort to help people and everybody around helping too! I hope to see you all soon again! Love Päm

  3. Layena Camhi Says:

    Went to my paypal account to donate. Put in: richard@infinitepie.net and it wasn’t a valid address as far as paypal was concerned. Richard please advise. Need an easy and straightforward way to donate. Your photos and description is wonderful. Thanks! (blcamhi@hotmail.com)

  4. cspacenz Says:

    Good reporting there Richard, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: