At the moment we are flying over Iran and are on our way to flying up over the North Pole and then down into Los Angeles.
What an amazing, incredible, once in a lifetime, life-changing experience we have had! What an opportunity to be with the richest of the rich in the Middle East and India and the poorest of the poor in the Colonies affected with leprosy!
Yesterday our darling Charity showed up with Dani and Sara with fabulous photographs of their week in Thailand and horror stories of their day in Calcutta. Since Dani and Sara are both six feet tall and Charity isn’t short herself, they survived that, but one day of experiencing Calcutta is plenty! (Those who have read City of Joy know that it entails the worst of the worst in India as far as poverty, garbage, rubble and misery goes.) But they’re here, sitting in the back of the kindergarten class after being mobbed by adorable little children all needing hugs and friends.
They were attentive pupils as dad taught a class on Alexander’s Amazing Adventures and the secret animal code.
We woke up this morning at the Rising Star School in India and and again visited some of the parents and grandparents of kids from the school who come from the Leprosy affected colonies. The clinic this time was at an “Old Folks Home” and again it was hard to see those wonderful people with stubs for feet and hands and caved in faces who have lived such horrible lives because of this great stigma. Again they were happy to be photographed so they could see themselves with their new friends.
This village was one of the first ones that Rising Star started helping about three years ago, so many of them are healed of the open sores but there are always other issues with these poor people The doctor says that he feels so sad because Leprosy kills everything…physical health, social status, feet, hands and faces…except the person him/herself. They have a pretty normal life expectancy which in some ways for so many, makes it even harder.
We still saw some pretty gruesome stuff:
This dear man was blind, nose cartilage eaten away with a hole in the roof of his mouth so that when he eats the food comes out his nose. What a sad face!
But we also found some beautiful faces despite it all:
Next door to the clinic where this same Dr. Kumar saw patients all morning there is an art school run by and Austrian man and his wife which enables those with Leprosy to create beautiful art. It was inspiring to see those with brushes attached to their hands and those with attrophied fingers creating something beautiful on hand-made paper with poster paints.
From there we went to the grocery store and then shopping with the girls and Sara, one of the directors of the school with her baby Belle (Lyla’s age). Pretty crazy street markets but you won’t believe the dress-up closet I’m going to have for the Eyrealm girls when I get home!