A Letter from India

Walter Scudder IV, a student at Eastern Connecticut University and a Scudder Association Foundation scholarship winner, returned home in mid-January from a memorable trip to Scudder-supported facilities in India. Following is his letter to Foundation members.

Walter Scudder IV at the school founded by his great-great-grandfather.

As a 20-year-old college student who has never traveled abroad alone, I was anxious about journeying to India. From the moment I arrived at Chennai International Airport, I was exposed to numerous unfamiliar cultural aspects that were eye opening. Within five minutes of leaving the airport, I was terrified of the traffic and chaos on the road. I quickly began to appreciate the expert driving skills and spatial awareness Indians have developed. I noticed and was fascinated by the developed communication system of honking!

SAF Board Member Jack Gillmar and Walter with Scudder Memorial officials and, via gold statue, Aunt Ida.

During my stay in India, I spent most of my time on the campus of Scudder Memorial Hospital in Ranipet. The welcoming staff and families that live on the campus kindly took me under their guidance. In this quiet and unassuming community, I have marveled at the extraordinary kindness of the people. During the mornings and afternoons of my three-week stay, I was taken to inspiring churches, hospitals, and schools. I was able to speak with students and teachers at elementary, high school, college, and medical school levels.

I was also fortunate to spend many hours observing incredible and caring doctors at Scudder Memorial Hospital. The entire staff at SMH took great care of the sick while spreading the gospel. I quickly learned that the healthcare providers at SMH took care of patients because of their heart and passion for doing so. Not only were the doctors skilled in their specialties, but they were also gifted in their communication with anxious and hopeless patients. Because this hospital typically treats people from communities in need, understanding the added stress of the patients is imperative. The doctors truly do a remarkable job giving their patients both hope to battle their illness and to put their faith in God. The staff at SMH constantly took time to pray for the patients at the morning meetings, while delivering their treatment, and in the evenings.

Since my first day in India, the family of the medical superintendent of the hospital invited me to play soccer. As a college soccer player, I was very excited to hit the pitch, and playing together every evening became our pastime. The soccer matches showed me how tight knit this community is. People from all backgrounds joined us in the evening for some fun and competitive matches. This activity led me to appreciate the small moments more in life. After stressful days in the various workplaces, it was awesome to watch members of the community come together to unwind.

Observing Pongal, the Hindu harvest festival celebrated by Tamils.

I would like to thank a few special people for making this trip possible. First, I would like to thank Betsy Steel for recommending the idea of visiting Scudder Memorial Hospital. Ms. Steel was extremely informative about what this opportunity offered, and I wouldn’t have traveled to SMH without her help! I would also like to thank Dr. James Taylor for connecting me with the medical superintendent at SMH, Dr. Anbu Suresh Roa. These people along with the Scudder Association made this trip possible, and I can’t express my gratitude adequately. It’s also important that I give a huge thanks to Dr. Anbu Suresh and his family for welcoming me into this different culture and supporting me throughout my visit. Despite the numerous responsibilities as a medical superintendent, Dr. Suresh prioritized taking care of my food and health as well as providing me with daily engaging and life-changing opportunities. Lastly, I want to thank the entire staff at SMH for graciously allowing me to observe several fields of medicine. I was able to learn so much about medicine during my three weeks in India, which continued to grow my interest in pursuing medicine. This experience was educational, life-affirming, deeply spiritual, and transformative for me. I recommend that Scudders continue to visit India and experience SMH for themselves.

Thank you, Scudder Memorial Hospital and the Scudder Association, for giving me this incredible opportunity,

Walter T. Scudder IV January 16, 2024

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