|Welcome to Camp HemoSOL!|
|Mumbai: a city of contrasts|
And here I am, sleeping in a canvas tent on the outskirts, showering with chilly water each morning, housed with about 40 boys with hemophilia who are attending Camp “HemoSOL” for three days, organized by the Hemophilia Society Mumbai Chapter, which cares for an astounding 1,250 persons with hemophilia. The air is sultry, mosquitoes swarm at dusk, sweat seeps out of pores and dampens our clothes. But the real atmosphere is joyous and electric, as these children generate megawatt smiles and endless laughter. Camp is where they come together as friends, play, swim, strategize at chess even while Anand, the reigning world champion and from India, battles a Norwegian in Chennai, where I’ll be next weekend.
|Chess is a national passion|
We took a two-hour tour through Mumbai’s clogged arteries and Indy-raceway-like highways to finally arrive at the quiet and remote campground—really a 16-acre function facility for weddings and retreats. Rustic by US-facility standards but very nice for its purpose here, the grounds host tents, a dining hall, an activity center (complete with a real, taxidermed Bengal tiger), swimming pool. The tents are roomy, with electricity, a bathroom and even a TV. Behind the facility snakes a river, to where goats clip-clop for a drink or bath.
|Applauding winners of arts & crafts|
We donate a large amount of factor to India each year, and now have over 500 children enrolled in Save One Life. India is the country with the most number of our beneficiaries. Why? Well, it has one of the highest populations of people with hemophilia; but it is also a very productive and efficient hemophilia society— the Hemophilia Federation (India). It was a good risk to launch our experimental program there in 2001, and it has not disappointed us.
So back to the Mumbai boys. I have rarely seen such a large group of boys with hemophilia living in a developing country in such good shape. This is no doubt due to the success of the Mumbai chapter in educating the boys and their families, and providing good medical care, including factor. They stand tall, have good joints and almost none walk with the crooked gait that see-saws the body. Mumbai has a good chapter but also good hospitals, physicians and access to factor.
|Boys everywhere love pooltime|
|Judging the arts & crafts|
|The Save One Life kids at camp|
The highlight of the camp was a visit by distinguished visitors: Yogacharya Dr. Hansraj Yadav, professor and Chair of Yoga at S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research and two colleagues. Dr. Yadav is a guru, who taught the mesmerized boys breathing and physical techniques to relax themselves, to re-energize and to redistribute energy throughout their bodies. Yoga can help with stress and pain management. It was excellent and each child followed his lead as he demonstrated 10 simple techniques.
|HFI Logo and Slogan|
|Laurie with camper|