Home for the Dying

11 February 2005

This morning we were visited by Gaston Dayanand who was the inspiration for the hero of ‘City of Joy’, the book written by Dominique Lapierre and translated by Kathryn Spink. The movie starred Patrick Swayze and is set in the slum in Kolkata that we are going to visit on Monday. Gaston was here for the editing of his book which tells of his experiences since arriving in India over 30 years ago. He gave us some insight into his thoughts about the nature of developement and what he is trying to achieve in Kolkata and its neighbouring villages.

Gaston Dayanand

Gaston was incredibly passionate about his views that all religions should be treated with respect, and that organisations of all creeds should work together for the relief of the poor. Real developement only comes about when social workers take into account the opinions and culture of the poor by working alongside them and not imposing external views or solutions.

Gaston Dayanand

A good lunch was had by all before we went to see Nirmal Hriday, Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying. The home cares for people who would otherwise be dying on the street, or in railway stations. There are two wards in the home, for men and women, and the purpose of the home and its underlying spirit is to help those who are destined to die to experience the warmth of the human touch. They have not yet turned anyone away, 81 thousand people having passed through their hands since it was opened by Mother in 1952. Contrary to misconception all peoples are prepared for death according to the rituals of their particular belief. Muslims are given readings from the Koran, Hindus are given Ganges water on their lips, while Christians receive the Last Rites. We found the home shocking, but also had a great compassion for those who lay so desperately ill. In response, some of us have volunteered to work a shift at the home to help the Sisters who run it.

Nirmal Hriday men's ward

The group with Andy


Richard Weldon

@ 5186 days ago

Have followed your progress daily. Thank you so much for taking the time to write up your experiences and recording them on camera.

You convey a real sense of a physical and spiritual adventure, both exhausting yet also rewarding.

Trust you continue to find it worthwhile.

God bless,


Marian & Joe Harrison

@ 5186 days ago

It was very moving to read your diary comments today, especially regarding your experiences at the Home for the Dying. You are all amazing and we are so proud of you. God bless you.

Kathleen Joyce and Helen Davison

@ 5186 days ago

Hello to you all,
It took me some time to find you on tne web,thanks to Ms Willis and her gift in technology eventually I found you. The pictures give a wonderful impression of the place.It all sounds fascinating.What a wonderful experience to be spiritually developed with such marvelous people.We are all envious of you ,but delighted.
Kathleen and Helen
Helen's remark How well you all look!

Carly Vincent

@ 5186 days ago

You all look like you're having a great time! What an experience! Keep up the good work

Megan and Edie

@ 5186 days ago

Hi Tom, Hope you have a good time!! We came down from scotland today on the train. There is a song i want to sing to you but i'll tell you when i see you. Meg wishes she could take another day off school to see you! Edie hopes you play badminton and says "kung k fat choi" wich means happy new year in chinese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lots of kisses and hugs meg and edie.

Amy B

@ 5185 days ago

Hi guys!!! We hav all been missing you so MUCH!! bt it's so FANTASTIC 2 hear that you are all having a wonderful time. I stil can't believe that you guys are in INDIA!! it's crazy. Natalie i have that picture of you in front of the Taj Mahal in my Link Book and am showin everyone at any possible chance I get!! Love you Ames xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Amy B

@ 5185 days ago

whoops forgot to say Nat that Michaela, Rodina, Jess, Zara and everyone at dancing wishes you big hugs and kisses. See you on Wednesday!! xxxxxxx

Geoff Boxshall

@ 5185 days ago

I feel as though I'm having a life-changing experience just reading what you're doing and seeing the amazing images, so I can hardly imagine what it must be like in real time. Enjoy it Nats - this is the real deal. Love Dad.

Veronica & Ron Butterworth

@ 5185 days ago

We feel very privileged to be able to follow your wonderful journey accross India, and all the amazing pictures of places you have visited - it is almost like travelling with you, pleased you are having such a welcome everywhere you go. Our prayers are with you.
Granny & Grand-dad B.

Hannah Graham (year 5)

@ 5185 days ago

Hi im Hannah and im in Mrs Ridleys class. You seem to be doing wonderful and amazing stuff hope to hear from you soon. Hannah

Gazza & Claire

@ 5185 days ago

Teenange, trip looks great wish I had known about web site earlier to follow progress daily!! Looks fab what an experience. Have you seen any flying carptes yet and what are the pyramids like? Carter said daddy today, miss's you and sends his love. Dont forget pressies. Love Gazza, Claire & Carter xx

Emma Ridley

@ 5185 days ago

Hya chris and the rest of the gang. I hope your still having a fabulous time out there. The last two installments and pictures have been amazing, it's brilliant that we all get to share in the experience that your having...I'm totally jealous. Missing you loads. The house is too quiet without you and being an only child is really boring, can't wait to see you. Love Em xxx :)


@ 5185 days ago

Taj Mahal by camel?! Chris and i went to the Raj Mahal in Northolt by cab - beat that! Ange, this looks superb! Missing you tons.
Don't forget my birthday! Well must Hoosh (is that camel for go?). Chris sends his love from the sofa. Can he have some pilau and a naan?
Love you xxx


@ 5182 days ago

Hi guys, only found out about the site today and had to take a look asap. I've really missed out haven't I? It looks like it turned out to be as amazing as we had all expected. I'm glad. Hope to talk to you all very soon, been thinking of you. Sabrina xxx

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