Rostrevor College, Adelaide, has had a tradition on its Indian pilgrimages, of undertaking service at a variety of places. One of these special places, dear to our hearts, is MITHRA Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai.
On the sign as you enter is a famous quote;
“I expect to pass through this world but once.
Any good therefore that I can do,
or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature,
let me do it now;
for I shall not pass this way again.”
2018 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Rostrevor Indian Pilgrimage and a team of 14 students and 8 staff this year embarked on a twenty-six day journey.
MITHRA is a rehabilitation centre in Chennai for students with physical and mental disabilities. The Rostrevor Team spent 3 days, helping in a variety of ways.
Lewis Pipe, a Year 11 student, describes MITHRA as surreal. “It amazes me how a simple act of kindness on my part can bring so much joy and happiness to these children and myself.”
Patrick Fleming also in Year 11 responds, “MITHRA has shown me first hand the effect that our work has had on people. The happiness of the kids, despite their situation, inspires me.”
The team has assisted in teaching lessons, painting, sewing, making cards, candles and bags and helping the children with meals. They also assisted in the occupational therapy sessions.
“MITHRA allows people to be and do what they want, free from judgement and discrimination. It’s s very special place”, insists Year 12 Patrick Moller.
Sam Hearn describes his experience in the following way, “The language barrier adds to the experience and creates closer relationships.”
As our journey came to an end and we prepared to leave MITHRA, and India, we can be assured that just like the sign on the entry door, in some small way we have made a difference to the beautiful people we have met. However, in the same capacity, the students at MITHRA have given us so much more than we could have ever imagined.
A smile, a giggle, running to hold our hand, a tickle and a laugh, a game of cricket, the privilege of feeding Daisy, who is unable to feed herself.
In India, people greet each other by saying Namaste-welcome. It also means, “I see the God in you.” We have met a lot of beautiful people on this trip and seen God in the hearts and souls of each and every one of them. Mother Teresa once said; “I see God in every Human Being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”
On behalf of Rostrevor College, the 2018 Pilgrimage Team and all Pilgrims upon whose shoulders we stand, we sincerely thank the students and staff at MITHRA for this great privilege and experience. Namaste.
-Belinda DeConno Coward
Photos from the Groups time with the children of MITHRA can be found on the Friends of Mithra Facebook page HERE.
The 2018 Group included:
Students: George Connolly, Patrick Fleming, Sam Hearn, Chris Mates, Thomas Matsis, Nathan McCarthy, Patrick Moller, Alex Partington, Lewis Pipe, Joshua Rahaley , Patrick Russo, David Szarbo, Henry Warren, William Warren,
Staff: Justin Chung, Belinda DeConno, Donna Douglas, Eugene Evans, Melissa Frasca, LeeAnne Genner, Sandra Mestros and Michael Vickery.