Medical Ministry International in India
Drs. Sharon and Chingkup Konyak
Dr. Sharon Konyak and Dr. Chingkup Konyak both completed the Ophthalmology Residency Training program at the Elias Santana Hospital in Dominican Republic. Following their graduation, they returned to their home country, India, to serve their people. Both Sharon and Chingkup work at the Mercy Eye Center in Tuensang, Nagaland, and are Project Directors for the Medical Ministry International teams that volunteer on projects there.
Patient Story: Sight Restored in Longphang
An elderly patient had come to the hospital escorted by her granddaughter, having been blind for a couple of years. She had her surgery, and the next day, when taking her patch off, she could immediately recognize the nurse taking off the patch. She started laughing and talking all at the same time. Her granddaughter was standing behind her and I was watching her. The patient turned her head to look up at her granddaughter and recognized her for the first time in a very long time, and she laughed even louder. I watched as the tears started rolling down the granddaughter’s face with pure joy. This patient could not stop laughing and talking all day, and her granddaughter would not leave her side. It was such a heartfelt simple moment to see just joy from both the patient and the granddaughter, such a sense of relief and joy for them both. It reminded me of how much we miss when we don’t appreciate the simple things, like how precious sight is, and how precious family is.
Longphang, Tuensang, Nagaland
Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. The state capital is Kohima and the largest city is Dimapur. Agriculture is the most important economic activity in Nagaland, so for many people it is their livelihood. Christianity is the predominant religion of Nagaland and it is known as a predominantly Baptist state. English is the official language. The terrain is mountaneous: 4500 feet above sea level.
* Project Description: These are optical and surgical projects. Patients are offered vision screenings, diagnosis, refractions, glasses, and surgeries. A collection of prescription eyeglasses will be available, along with reading glasses for those who require glasses after their consult. Longphang, Tuensang has a Primary Health Care Center which is run by a Christian NGO. It is strategically located 30km from Myanmar and 30km to tribal populations on either side, making it the only accessible health center for these people.
1,371 m (4,498 ft)
Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 2,000 mm, concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures can range from 5 °C to 40 °C.
Mon is the remotest district of Nagaland state in India, just 30 km from Indo-Myanmar borders. It is considered one of the most unreached places of the world, continually suppressed by the Indian government and Myanmar. Access to health care in the region is limited by inaccessibility and economic poverty. The region has a population of 250,671 and a literacy rate of 57%.
Mon is home to the Konyak Nagas, one of the largest tribes among the Nagas. The Konyaks are skilled craftsmen and artisans. Many of the Nagas have embraced Christianity, which has brought unity between tribes and an end to much tribal violence. Languages spoken in the area include tribal dialects as well as English.
* Project Description: These are optical and surgical projects. Patients are offered vision screenings, diagnoses, refractions, glasses, and surgeries. A collection of prescription eyeglasses and reading glasses will be available, after patient consults.
655 m (2149 ft)
Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 2,000 mm, concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures can range from 5°C (41°F) to 40°C (104°F).
Ukhrul is a land of beautiful mountains interspersed by numerous tribal inhabitants echoing with the rhythms of tribal cultures and rich wild life. Besides the serene environment, the ways of life of the simple and friendly tribals who have been known for generations for their honesty and integrity leave one spellbound.
Ukhrul district is the home of the Tangkhul. The Tangkhuls belong to the Mongolian people which are spread all over the world. They have a rich culture. Tangkhuls are music lovers and their songs are soft and melodious. They have their own traditional folk dance known as 'Pheichak'. Pheichak occupies an important place in the life of the Tangkhul. The Official language is 'Tangkhul language'. However, there are different kinds of dialects for every village. There are more than 200 dialects estimated be spoken in each and every village, but the common language is the Hunphun (Ukhrul) dialect.
* Project Description: These are optical and surgical projects. The main clinic and surgery days will be held at the local Hospital. Patients are offered vision screenings, diagnosis, refractions, glasses, and surgeries. A collection of prescription eyeglasses will be available, along with reading glasses for those who require glasses after their consult.
1,662 m (5,453 ft)
This northeastern corner of India enjoys a generally mild climate, though the winters can be a chilly. Throughout the year, temperatures can range from 5 °C to 29 °C.
Travelling on a Project
Entry & Exit Requirements
Travelers must present a passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into India and contain at least one blank page for a visa. Tourist visa is required, and it is recommended to have the visa more than 15 days prior to departure, therefore if you haven’t applied please do so as soon as possible. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required, if you have visited a country where yellow fever occurs. For a list of countries please see: http://www.who.int/ith/2017-ith-country-list.pdf
• Americans: : Tourist visa is required at a cost of $120 USD, and should be obtained prior to departure. For more information on the visa application process, please check this website: https://www.in.ckgs.us/
For more information see the US State Department website:
• Canadians: Tourist visa is required, and should be obtained prior to departure. For more information on the visa application process, please check this website: https://www.blsindia-canada.com/touristvisa.php
Please check the following website for the most current entry/exit requirements: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/india
Our Travel agency – Raptim Humanitarian Travel, work with a Visa service. If you wish to pursue your Visa through CIBT visa service you can use the following link: CIBTvisas and you are able to enter Raptim’s Account number (500014) for a reduced service charge.
• International: Please contact MMI office or Raptim Humanitarian Travel for visa requirement if needed.
Please email ALL CREDENTIALS upon application, as these must go to the Project Director in the country to be translated and then taken to the Ministry of Health to get temporary licenses prior to your arrival.
• For everyone, we need:
- Colour Scan / Photocopy of Passport (photo page)
- Colour photo for your name badge (any good photo, we can adjust size)
- Travel Itinerary
- Supply Lists
• Medical Professionals, we also need your:
- Current License (through time of project)
- Diploma (Techs, Nursing, Dental, MD and Board Certifications)
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume (this also will help the Project Director know your skills & experience to assign you a task on the project, especially for 1st time participants)
• Health Care Students: Letter of Good Standing from your school (including year of study and graduation date).
• All MINORS travelling with only one parent, or without their parents, will need a letter from BOTH parents stating that it is OK for the child to travel with one parent or an appointed guardian. The letter should be signed and notarized. MMI needs a copy of this letter, and the parent or guardian should carry the orignial letter while travelling.
Once accepted for a Project Team, participants can contact our designated travel agent to coordinate schedules with the team itinerary.
Raptim Humanitarian Travel: https://www.raptim.org/
Because the costs for airfare vary significantly based on the country location, location of team members, and time of year, fundraising goals for airfare are not included on the Project Schedule.
• US Applicants:
Contact our “Serve Team 2”: ServeTeam2.firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct Toll Free: 1-844-882-3233 and ask for the agents by name or extension.
Lead Agents – Claudia (ext. 13302), or Michael (ext. 15004).
• Canadian Applicants:
Contact our “We Partner” team: email@example.com
905-465-4300 or Toll Free: 1-844-442-6978 & ask for the agents by name.
Lead Agents - Anca (ext. 32327), or Connie (ext. 31771)
• International Applicants: Travel arrangement can be procured locally or following the Canadian instructions above.
We strongly recommend that you consult a travel clinic, as they are aware of outbreaks and can suggest preventative immunizations. All routine immunizations should be up-to-date. Please check the following website for the most current information.
• Americans: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india
• Canadians: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/india
Accommodations and Meals
MMI will arrange local accommodations for the team.
• Laundry Service: usually available for additional fee
• AC: dependent on location
• Phone Service: check with your cell phone provider, roaming is very expensive
• Wifi/Internet: dependent on locations
• Voltage: 220V (converter or adaptor required).
• Meals: MMI will provide meals for the team. Dietary restrictions can be indicated on your application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Be sure to bring your own re-usable water bottle with a wide mouth for refilling. Purified water is supplied. If you would like to bring snacks to have throughout the day, please bring items such as peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix or pretzels and crackers in sealable containers (like Ziploc bags).
• Language: Hindi, Bengali, Telugu and other
- Hindu: 79.8%
- Muslim: 14.2%
- Christian: 2.3%
- Sikh 1.7%
- Others: 2.0%
• Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
The currency in India is called the Indian rupee (INR). US dollars and Euros can be exchanged for INR. Credit cards which can be used internationally are accepted - Visa and MasterCard the most widely accepted (make sure to call your credit card company and let them know that you’ll be traveling internationally). Traveler’s cheques are not easily cashed. You must bring US dollars in good condition. Torn, stamped or old bills will not be exchanged. $100 bills older than 2006 are also not accepted.
Home to some of the world's most ancient surviving civilizations, the Indian subcontinent - from the mountainous Afghan frontier to the jungles of Burma - is both vast and diverse in terms of its people, language and cultural traditions. Apart from its many religions and sects, India is home to innumerable castes and tribes, as well as to more than a dozen major and hundreds of minor linguistic groups from several language families unrelated to one another. Religious groups, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, still account for a significant proportion of the population. With roughly one-sixth of the world’s total population, India is the second most-populous country, after China. Though the country’s population remains largely rural, India has three of the most populous and cosmopolitan cities in the world - Mumbai, Kolkata, and the nation's capital, Delhi.
India is positioned on the Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia, and is located in both the eastern and northern hemispheres. It borders the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
20.5937° N, 78.9629° E
12 nautical miles
China, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan.
CLIMATE AND TERRAIN:
India is home to an extraordinary variety of climatic regions, ranging from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. The nation's climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert.
3.287 million km²
Indian Ocean - 0 m
Kangchenjunga Mountain - 8,586 m (3rd highest point in the world)