Aman is an eleven year old boy I met on the men’s ward on Thursday. He was diagnosed with leprosy about two months ago but has had to be hospitalised due to severe reaction. His body’s immune system has reacted badly to the leprosy bacillus and consequently he has joint and nerve pain, a fever and some paralysis in his hands. His sadness fills the space around him. He lost his father two years ago and has not recovered so to find he is now facing leprosy is a hard blow to bear. His mother has to stay at home to care for his sister so he feels alone here.
But, and as in my last blog, there is always a but, he has been befriended by another older boy, also in much pain, who has seen his loneliness and is trying to help him. He sneaked out of the hospital yesterday and took Aman to the local bazaar for an outing.
And he is having treatment, both to cure the leprosy and to help the reaction. The doctor in charge spoke very movingly to us: “We have little protocol for treating small children, we need the drugs to be effective but do no harm. If they, the patients suffer, I suffer.”
What a place! I have been moved to tears today, and also played and laughed with children in a local village, tripping over chickens and ducks as we played.