Shalom Leprosy Compassion Ministry: People with leprosy are sent to isolated villages where they are abandoned and forgotten by society. The Shalom Leprosy Compassion Ministry has a special place in its heart for these people and organizes groups of volunteers to travel to villages plagued with leprosy in order to provide medical, living, and psychological assistance. The Shalom Leprosy Compassion Ministry is located in Kunming, Yunnan.
Li Shiyou came to the village when he was 18 years old. He is now over 50 years old and is the youngest of the trio. He is responsible for grocery shopping, since the other two are 70 year old men, old and feeble. Inspired by Dr. Liang Ping, I participated in the care team that visited the leprosy villages, providing volunteer services for these leprosy patients.
I remember the first time I went to visit with a South American team. I helped them carry firewood from the mountains. A leprosy patient named Jiaoxu shared his sad story with us. (He has since passed away.) When he was little and was diagnosed with leprosy, he was expelled from the village and isolated in a cave a few miles away outside the village. He had to endure the loneliness and physical torture during that time. The government gave him five kilograms of corn a month as rations. Such a cold and hungry lifestyle damaged his health, hands, and feet, resulting in a large area of disability.
Later, the government built a leprosy hospital. The villagers were then quick to kick out the leprosy patients from their village. These ill people, however, were very grateful to the government for building them a home where they could live in peace. A few years later, many of the patients died one after another. Later, the government retrieved the doctors who were sent to the village. From then on, the villagers could only depend on doctors who were sent once a month by the government.
Later, Dr. Liang Ping and other foreign institutions began to visit the leprosy village and provide medical treatment for them. In addition to providing a service of care, they all ate together to make the villagers feel happier. They are most pleased that the doctor still often thinks of them by regularly helping treat their ulcers and disease, buying a refrigerator and other gadgets to make their lives more convenient. The refrigerator enabled the villagers to buy more food so that they do not have to go on a crowded bus to go shopping. The buses often discriminate against the leprosy patients, and they are not allowed on the trains either. Last year when Laoli became sick, Dr. Liang Ping realized that he was the only one who helped the Laoqiu couple by groceries and rice. So the doctor brought him to a hospital in hopes that he could recover faster.
The patients living here get about 300 RMB ($45 USD) a month; on holidays they sometimes get more. The villagers spend this money to buy rice, oil, salt, and daily necessities, in addition to medicine and clothing. The monthly subsistence only meets their basic needs. But because the patients are frail, and basically no one but Dr. Liang sees them, no one else pays attention or visits them. We hope more people will contribute a little love to these kind patients who are in much need of care, especially the physically disabled and frail!
Original article written by Ping Liang, translated by Nina Chen, edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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