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