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.
Lepers lives a quiet but isolated area. Few people would come here. They are forgotten
I spared one day from tight schedule. With the arrangement of the local friend, I was going to visit a village living with lepers. according to him, there are dozens of such villages in Yunnan province. Most of the leprosy patients are very old and the size of the villages became smaller. A Friday morning, we set out in a rented mini-van. The village is about 2 hours ride from Kunming. Apart from several friends from LA, we came along with Liang Ping, a local Chinese medicine doctor.
The van packed with us and bags of materials bringing to the village. I was curious why the Chinese medicine doctor had been visiting the village. A friend in Kunming talked about their experiences in visiting the village during the past decades.
Leprosy is actually a low-infective illness. There’s a false impression among people during the past 10 years. They thought the illness would be infected to people around, so they sent the patients to remote areas, leaving them in places far away from the towns. Apart from subsides from the government, the lepers have to grow vegetables and raise chicken. It looks like a quiet area, but it is actually an isolated place. Few people would come here, even though their relatives who had forgotten them.
When we arrived at Yiliang county, we ride to a twist village road. We finally arrived at the foot of the mountain where the village is located. Limbs of the patients have been serious deformed. The wounds were ulcer. Liang Ping had been visiting the village regularly. She helped to treat the wounds. She also chat with them.
We saw a lot of closing old huts in the villages. The grounds were piled with corns and chilies. There are less than 10 people living there. They are about 60 to 70. Each one was disabled. We prayed for the patients. We talked to an old woman with walking stick. We asked if her family came and visited her. She said she seldom saw her family members. They wished she would have died earlier. Her eyes could not close. She has to wear hat all the time.
A peasant woman living nearby came to the village. She brought us to her fields to take some carrots. On leaving, several old lepers told us to come again. We responded with helpless smiles. We were not sure if we would come again.
On the way back, Liang Ping was sitting in the front seat. It was not easy to insist on visiting the villages living with lepers for more than 10 years. It was a big blessing and company for the lepers. The old patients knew there are people thinking of them.
In the place where you live, do you know how many people have been forgotten or refused? No one should be forgotten or refused. Each one is worth a hug no matter how bad-looking she/he is.
(The article has been written by Doctor Chen who is from Taiwan. He visited the village at his tight schedule. After he shared his visit experience, the volunteers and Liang Ping were very appreciate him. We believe with Doctor Chen’s sharing, more people would join the team to care the lepers. The patients will have more help. Thank Doctor Chen. We put some photos to help the readers to better understanding. )
Original article written by Dr. Chen (volunteer from Shalon), translated by Maggie Li, edited by Yanyan Zhang
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