Location Map for Malawi

 spent several months during the summer of 1998 working in Nepal under the auspices of the Nepal Leprosy Trust.
This is a brief report


"An Occupational Therapist's job is to help people with both physical and mental impairments achieve a maximum level of independence through the use of activities".

This is what I'd spent the best four years of my life trying to understand how to do and now it was time to put it into practice. This time in a leprosy hospital in the middle of Nepal! Don't ask me why it had to be Nepal. I had no intention of going and put up quite a protest against it, including stating that I had no money (Remember, I was a student!) However, God had other plans for me and after providing the necessary (plus) money, the visa and the travel companion, on 12th June 1998, I was on my way to Lal Gadh, a tiny village in the Terai (south plains) of Nepal.


Situated on a hill between a river valley and a dense jungle that stretches to the Everest range of the Himalayas, the hospital is a remarkable array of buildings, surrounded with coloured splashes of local flora and a constant throng of staff and patients. The patients have multiple problems; physical abscesses, ulcers and limb deformities, mental anguish, low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, economic difficulties (if they don't work, they and their families don't eat) and the social stigma of having leprosy. In the Hindu culture, having leprosy is seen to be "a curse from the gods", rather than a totally curable virus in the blood and villages and families often ostracise the victim of leprosy. So what could we do to help?

Picture a beautiful young woman named Saurita. She has leprosy and because of this has no sensation in her hands and has lost some fingers. Due to the fact that she is 'unmarriable' and will be a 'burden' to her family, they have thrown her out. She is homeless, penniless, has leprosy and wants to die. That is, until she comes to Lal Gadh leprosy hospital to be cured of this disease forever by staff who treat her with so much love and dignity that she comes to know Jesus Christ as her personal saviour and friend. Through Occupational Therapy she learns to look after herself properly in order to prevent more deformities from occurring and she is also taught a new trade - beadwork. Saurita now can safely make bracelets and necklaces with her loom, causing her to earn more money than she has ever seen before! (Approx. 200 Nepali Rupees a week which equates to £2 Sterling). In fact, she is making so much money that her family now want her to return home. This time though, Saurita calls the shots and can be independent from them if she chooses.

Apart from teaching and implementing within the hospital, I was also very involved with teaching self-care techniques, designing and producing self-care posters, designing and producing step-by-step instruction sheets on how to use a computer, working with a 14 yr old boy with cerebal palsy and teaching literacy. All in all, a wide variety of challenges but challenges that God has used to discipline and teach me through. His strength and faithfulness carried us all through a very hot, sticky, electricity-free, snake and scorpion infested three months! Now, His lessons are being put to the test in my new job in Montrose, in the north of Scotland and He is providing new challenges for me, so that I may learn to lean on Him even more.

I praise God for my time there and I thank you for your prayers and support.





Claire Morgan

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