As, I walk along the roads of a village called Puttur in the South of Karnataka with Pauline aunty. Who I just met randomly in an Anganwadi. She takes me to all the Endosulphan affected kids in that area. Pauline says, “I know this family for a long time. They have a teenage boy who cannot walk, and is physically disabled because of the Endosulphan spray.
Walking in those lanes with people constantly staring at me, but also smiling back at me. Made me feel a little bit secure while going to a strangers home. Stood outside right by the porch, Celine who is Jason’s mother, waved at Pauline and also me. She welcomed us with a warm smile and introduced me to Jason. Jason lay outside the his house on the porch. His mother told him to get up and say hello to me and Pauline aunty. Although, Jason couldn’t greet us with a hello, he managed to get up and sit and come inside to join us.
Since, I had to get started with my questions about how long he has been suffering through this, or what went wrong along the way. I couldn’t stop but notice Jason climbing the windows in the living room. I tried to talk to him and for him to get to talk to me but he just looked at me and went onto his climbing and banging the cupboards. Their living room painted blue had an alter with a a cross and the Holy Bible. Pauline aunty said, “Every Sunday whenever they go to church, they have to take turns and stay with Jason and go to church. Someone has to be with him at all times.”
I know, I was just trying to get a lot of information for my Master’s Project but somewhere down the line. Jason’s life really touched me, it really made me see the worst side of the situation. I could see what the family had to go through each and every day. Even though, they didn’t fail to put a smile on their faces but from within they were just suffering, they felt helpless at times. The fact that the family was still so patient with this boy, who could not walk, talk or even respond like a toddler would. A mother, not being able to communicate with her son. A son, who was in her womb for nine months is now not even able to help him walk.
“She has been really dedicated towards Jason and left her job as a nurse to take her of him.”, said Pauline aunty.
Celine said she tried everything she could to help him get better, to help him to walk and talk. He called his mother ‘Amma’ before in the early stage but after a few years he couldn’t even barely talk. The family blames the acupuncture treatment that someone recommended. After the acupuncture, his situation got even worse. He had fits and everything that went inside his mouth came out at the same time, he couldn’t eat properly for a few months. Celine has two children including Jason, the other one is a 7-year-old girl who is not affected by Endosulphan. She has an elder brother too who is a victim of endosulphan. He was recently admitted in a government hospital in Mangalore, and brought back since he was not feeling well there.
Jason goes to a school for handicapped kids called Sarvodaya, which is run by a church and mainly Father John of the Catholic Church in Puttur. He is mostly sitting in his class, his hands tied to the chair because that is the only treatment for him. A world, where satellite’s can be sent to the space and where ISRO launches 103 satellites in a year. But, when it comes to developing and using technology for a good cause. No one wants to do it.
In the taluk of Puttur there are 1492 people to which there are 3618 affected throughout Dakshina Karnataka and who are identified with specific illness in Endosulfan sprayed areas, according to the district NRDMS.Despite the fact that there are nearly 3618 victims in Dakshina Karnataka, there are only two centres, one is in Koyla in Puttur district and the other one in Kokkada, Belthangady. Due to a few problems in the past few years the centre in Kokkada was shut down. The centre in Koyla only caters to only 42 victims and the Kokkada centre has only 27.
What can be done for many of the Jason’s all over Karnataka and even Kasargod. Is the government doing enough? Are the needs met? What is happening!