The cry of the lepers is like the cry of the family that loses their daughter and begs for help. I can't do other than listen to it and try to give an answer.
“Brother… Brother…! Please help…! Please heal our child…!” Heartbreakingly shouting, a mother and grandfather came running into the St. Lukas policlinic in Aek Tolang, early in the morning. A little girl was carried inside. The mother returned home, because she didn’t feel well either. The girl was severely dehydrated. Since two days she suffered from diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever. I could not save her anymore.
I brought her body to her grandfather’s house. “Brother, we have no money, but please examine my other grandchildren, otherwise they will die like this princess. The girl had two brothers, 7 and 11 years old. I took the boys to the clinic and also had the mother brought to the clinic. I gave them a drip because they also had dehydration symptoms. In the afternoon they recovered.
The disease that affected this family has two underlying causes: lack of knowledge about hygiene and health, and poverty. “Something like this can happen to more people”, I realized, “and only because of a lack of information. What can I do? Not only for this family, but also for other vulnerable families?”
I was moved by this situation and wanted to do something. With the help of PERDHAKI (healthcare organization) in the Diocese of Sibolga together with some benevolent people active in the healthcare sector we formed a team: the Baksos (Social Work) Team Perdhaki Diocese of Sibolga. We collected funds, medicines and resources for personal hygiene. We provide health education, consultations and medication. Since its foundation in 2016, we have been able to help many people, even in remote areas, and that is truly a gift from God.
During the current Covid-19 pandemic we hand out masks, and we offer green bean porridge – which is very nutritious and healthy – and eggs to health workers. We also distributed food packages to about 200 needy families. We continue to work steadily, together, in joy and in sorrow, and our slogan is “Caring and Sharing”.
The event with which I started this story reminds me of the story of Jesus’ healing of ten lepers: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). The cry of the lepers is like the cry of the family that loses their daughter and begs for help. I can’t do other than listen to it and try to give an answer.
Brother Agustinus Farneubun CMM (Aek Tolang, Indonesia)