The Power of Touch
The last few days I have had the incredible opportunity to visit a leprosy colony and visit with some people who are leprosy affected. Rising Star Outreach is working on an anthropology project this summer where they will be interviewing the people in the leprosy colonies and finding out their life stories. I cannot even describe the powerful affect that these people have already had on me. Yesterday I walked around the colony with a translator and visited with three different people. I will briefly describe my interview with the first man.
Subramanayan is 60 years or older and is living in the leprosy colony of Bharthapuran. He lives in a humble small room that was very dirty and had a small mat that he slept on, on the ground. When I approached with the translator he was very happy to talk to us, but still had very little energy. The color in his eyes had turned a yellowish color, I’m assuming that many years of suffering and having leprosy has made them this way. The first thing that he told me when I sat down with him was that today is a good day to die. He was born in Kanjibadi with his parents; they died when he was 4 years old. He moved to Bangledor where he lived with his Grandmother who also died. He likes to be alone. He came to the colony so that he could be alone, but he does have friends at the colony who are helping him. He now has no family. His older sister died of tuberculosis about ten years ago. He had a wife but she died several years ago as well. The only way that he has made money was from weaving pants when he was younger. Before he was really sick he would go to the village to beg, but now he is too sick to even go and beg. All he feels that he needs is one meal a day to get him by, and sometimes it is even extremely hard to get one meal a day. He also spoke with me about his religion and his feelings on God. He is still Hindu but believes that there is only one God who watches over all. He knows that God gave him this trial and he is waiting for the day to greet him again.
Sitting and talking with this man helped remind me of many things. It is hard to understand why God gives some of his children some amazingly hard trials. This man has suffered his entire life and has had no family to endure it with. But despite the trials he has been given, he continues to give thanks to his God daily. He said that God gives him the confidence to move on and he waits for the day to greet him again. Near the end of the interview I got very emotional and told the man that his heavenly father loves him so much and that he loves all of his children equally. I took hold of both of his hands and he was so surprised because being a person affected by leprosy you feel as is you are cursed. No one voluntarily will touch them. It is amazing the affect that a small touch of love will have on a person. Not only was I helping him, but he was helping me. Amazing.