During the early part of 2017 we decided to renovate two staff quarters in faith that they would be occupied in time with much needed medical staff at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Outside renovations were completed by summer 2017 and you can see the transformation in the Summer 2017 newsletter.
The impetus to inside renovations came in late summer when there was a possibility of Dr Ava Marandih joining the SLH team, but we were still doing things up till the evening before she arrived on 17th October.
The inside of both the old buildings were filthy and required a good clean before proceeding to anything further. The photos of “before rooms’’ are actually taken AFTER they were cleaned, full of rat droppings, dead vermin and other rubbish and stank – our faithful Munshi and Betka helped Elisabeth to start the cleaning process, stimulating others to join in after some time. Mushi and Betka sensibly wear head scarf and make masks to cover their faces so the only thing you can see is their eyes – for the dust and dirt raised during cleaning goes right down into your lungs.
At the end of those days, they both took a bath using nearly a bar of soap between them !!!
The toilet pan and sink were black, but after lots of elbow grease and special cleaning materials they were white and shiny, and we did not have to buy new ones as others had suggested. There is something very satisfying about getting something from black to its original shiny white – this bathroom wear now over 40 years old is of far higher quality than the new toilets we have installed in OPD.
Even after cleaning, nothing could be done for the kitchen other than getting new things. We tiled the floor and part of walls , and got a tiler from Pakur. He also put in granite work tops, and a new deep stainless steel sink in the corner below the kitchen window.
Plumbing was carried our partly by our own maintenance staff (supervised by Shubhro !) And the electrical installation team of three came from the furthest away – Dumka.
All the time our hospital carpenter had been steadily working away, making new timber doors, fashioning the walk in wardrobe with hanging rail and compartments for clothes and other things. (The photograph is taken just before Ava moved in, so all his working materials including saw, paints and electrical cables plumbing materials etc are stored in the walk in wardrobe.)
Surinder also made a large wooden partition and painted it making a nice cosy interior – sitting cum study area, and separate bedroom for Ava.
Then he set about making new timber frames for all the windows and inserting mosquito netting throughout the house. He painted everything green – and the walls were magnolia as Ava had requested – so the interior matches the exterior of predominantly white with green borders – the preferred tribal colours. Ava wanted a lemon kitchen to keep it bright and spacious – not quite lemon. though.
But Ava was suitably impressed when she arrived – for she had come initially when only the cleaning had been done, and Shubhro had asked her to pick which of the buildings she would like to live in so we did those interior renovations first. And then he asked her how she would like the kitchen laid out – so she had a say in how her home would be. Elisabeth clearly remembers the week
before Ava was due to start a text message from Ava asking “Is my cottage ready”.
And though Ava was only with us for 7 weeks she already started planting coriander carrots and tomatoes in the garden and little flowers around the border – we are sad she could not stay on with us at St Luke’s, but glad her coming spurred on the development of doctors quarters which we shall be able to make use of in future.