Today was one of those days where you don’t realize it was intense until you look back on it. And it certainly was deeply powerful in a way I didn’t realize right of the bat. I started the morning with a deep pit in my stomach that made me ultra aware of anything remotely gross and for the better half of the day would result in making me completely nauseous. Everything from an unusually crunchy rice puff leaving the rest of the bowl unfinished, every itch and feeling like I had lice, the thought of the wrong food, and a variety of smells. The nausea passed while I was working but my heightened awareness remained as we worked with the patients at bethel nagar. Oh correction, somehow there was a confusion and we were at chetipunyam last week. Anyways. Rather than just talking to the patients as I took their bp or seeing their faces light up as we danced, I saw ever detail of each patient. I’ve seen them before but my view was different today somehow. I think that most of the media shows leprosy as this scary thing and victims are usually bandaged up but if you have ever seen an actual patient you will know that they have various wounds, missing fingers and toes, some advanced cases have lost limbs. The nerve damage all depends on the level before treatment but there are patients who have damages to every part of the body you can think of, some even causing blindness. Today was my biggest colony yet which is maybe why it struck me, but I noticed that despite all of these things that most people would pity them for, not one patient I have seen appears to be angry or upset at their situation or curse the world they live in. They do what they can with their bodies, they show us gratefulness for our help, and when we dance with them they still know how to express pure joy. Granted they are still great at bickering with one another but I realized not one of them has come to me feeling entitled to anything we have to offer because they are ‘suffering’. I know I don’t know how they feel about things internally or within their daily lives. Or even the process they have gone through to cope with where they are now. But the way they approach the things I get to see are beautiful in my eyes. Or as they would say here, super. Today I seriously rocked out with a man who needs to walk with two prosthetic legs and crutches. And I mean seriously rocked out! To be there to share a moment with him where he could truly enjoy what he had (when so many people would focus on what he didn’t have) was incredible. I feel truly blessed.
When we got back, we had to let the kids know who was chosen to be in Life Dance which was so hard. You want to tell them all yes if they tried but we just can’t. I almost wanted to be like, dude If only you knew how hard this was in real life. That’s when I realized their real life is just plain hard. These kids deal with so much death and are segregated into colonies telling them they are victims and not worth being mixed in with the rest of society. These kids will do anything to try to give you the ‘right’ answer. That’s why we are focusing so much on their power of choice and that they can still succeed in that. And that’s not to mention the amount of stories I have heard about abusive marriages. I guess this past Sunday at church a woman got up and openly started talking about her abusive husband. He treats her this way because she has chosen to believe in Jesus Christ. And she stood up there and spoke to the whole church about how that is ok, because they don’t have a good relationship anyways, and she is going to keep on believing what she believes in. It’s just like that. I think we should all be thankful to live in a society where we can build relationships on friendship and love, and that even if you are caught in a bad situation, there are opportunities available for help. This woman spoke to an entire church and people did not seem phased.