To educate, challenge and involve the people of Northern Ireland in the Christ-like and unique mission of The Leprosy Mission worldwide, and to contribute to its overall operations and development.
The Leprosy Mission NI
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Panelal is a kindly old man. He had been charged with looking after Chamani after his mother had passed him over to leprosy workers. It was they who had made arrangements for the small boy to travel to Anandaban to have his hand operated on. Chamani doesn't know how old he is, he looks to be about 9. I guess his parents may be able to work out his age, but Panelal doesn’t know. Chamani had been placed in Panelal’s care, but neither of them knew each other.
Chamani talks to me only when his deep sobs don’t rob him of his voice. The bus had taken him away from his village, Chamani doesn’t know the name of his village it’s just the place where his sister is. It’s the place where his mother and father sometimes work in the fields. He shrugs away when Panelal gives him comforting taps on the head with his shriveled hand.
Chamani tells me that one day his father noticed he had a wound on his hand, but it didn’t hurt. His father took him to the health post and after that he took medicine for a long time but his hand is useless anyway. His father and mother will know that with a paralyzed hand Chamani will not be able to work when his time comes; and they can only allow a few more years of childhood. They will have known how important it is for their little boy to have the operation the leprosy workers spoke of, so important that they were ready to send him off, so far away, in the care of people that none of them knew. Chamani says he doesn’t feel the pain from the operation, but he obviously aches for the touch of his mother. To him it’s immaterial that it is harvest time in the Terai. I know his parents will only get work when the seasons permit and when the landlords need them. If they lose the opportunity to work now, the family will not have food. I know all this but Chamani only knows that he wants to go home.