Thursday, July 16, 2009

Meeting the lepers.

I forgot to tell you all yesterday that we experienced our first monsoon. It wasn't so bad :) Sure, it hit while we were walking back from working so we got so wet it looked like we had jumped into a pool fully clothed and now there are some dead rats in the street from the places that flooded, but at least it knocked the temperature down a few degrees.

Grant and I went to meet the lepers this morning at a center called Gandhiji Prem Nivas. We were the only two in our group able to go. It was amazing! We visited the places where they work making blankets, saris, bandages, towels, diapers, and other things on looms for the houses where we work, and I believe several other similar houses in different places. While other places now use machines for weaving, Mother Teresa used the hand worked looms so that lepers could have jobs. They showed us the workshop where they make prosthetic limbs for people who have lost theirs to the disease. The showed us the gardens where the work, and the housing they've been provided with, and the place where there children are taken care of and taught. The children sang us songs :) They employ about 400 recovered lepers there. Then they took us through the rooms of the leprosy patients who are too sick to work. A couple times between rooms I had to wipe away tears and take deep breaths before entering the next room. Many were missing limbs, had deformed hands, and bulging, discolored eyes among other afflictions. We could see into one man's head through the gaping hole at the bridge of his nose. I was overcome. The thing that made this place so beautiful is that these people have more reason to be mean and angry than anyone I've ever met (they are believed to be cursed by their communities and even their families, so that they are thrown out of their homes and no one will talk to them, feed them, hire them, even when they are recovered) yet they are the sweetest, happiest, most genuine people I have met in India so far. They were so excited to see us, all either stopped their work or sat up in their beds to lift their hands in a love filled "namaste." The lepers and the handicapped, these are easy to love. My challenge isn't where I expected it to be. My struggle is going to be learning to love the men and women who try to cheat us out of our money, the men and women who are rude and bossy, the men who stare at us girls like we're objects they can't wait to get their hands all over, and other various types of people here. Pray that I can find love for them too, because God loves them just as much as everyone else.

And now, for your reading pleasure... Grant is here to tell you more about where he works!!

Hey everyone

So like Morgan told you, I've been working at Nabo Jiban, a home for mentally challenged men and boys. I picked this home mainly because I thought it would be the best choice for my own spiritual and personal growth, and also because I heard that this home needed a LOT of help. What I do on a daily basis is make the long journey across the Howrah bridge, taking two busses, and a short walk to the home where the brothers live. As soon as I get there I usually do laundry (by feet), or help clean the walls and floors, after the chores are done, we play with our boys. The first day was nice. I walked into the room and crouched down next to one boy who I later learned is named Raju, and took his hands in mine. Raju is blind, and needs help getting around. He automatically pulled himself up, and he pulled me outside and straight to their playground swingset for me to push him. He does this almost every day, and loves it.

I'm not sure what any of the boys problems are specifically. Some are barely functional, and can't walk, talk, or see. Others are almost normal, but can't live out with the rest of the world. The brothers of Nabo Jiban take care of them, feed them, and love them. I'v tried to learn the boys names as best as I can. There is Rameesh, who laughs all of the time, and loves to run and be chased; there is Sonu, who is usually sad, but loves so much to be held in someones arms; and there is Kalu, who they warned me when I got there to not let him get his arms around me. He is very strong and doesn't let go easily.
Morgan told you all about the street children who come to be washed and fed on sunday mornings. All I can say is that I really can't wait til next Sunday. It was so much fun! The children all shouted out, "Uncle! Uncle!" and lifted their hands to be picked up. I've never been great with kids, but they all laughed and kept coming.

I'm learning a lot about myself on this trip, and even more about humanity and Christ's teachings. My hope is that I will come back with a different heart, better than I was before, and will be dedicated to doing what God wants of me all the time.

Alright, well, I'm a much slower writer than Morgan (and not as fluent), and we're past our hour (way past it (says Morgan) but if loving Grant means loving his slow writing I'm all for it), so I've gotta go. Bye!


  1. I am blessed by the spiritual truths you are learning and may God help you to remember and keep them where they may be harder to apply... back home where there is wealth, prosperity, pride and selfishness! Love, your father and father-in-law to be. :O)

  2. Sounds like quite an experience already! Just want to let you know that people here at Calvary Fellowship in Eugene, OR are praying for you guys!

    - Dan ...Brian's friend that had lunch with you guys that one day before you left :)