Since we arrived, we have been consistently asking for more volunteer opportunities and more time to see the philanthropic work that Rotary does. We were extremely excited when we were told that we would be visiting a home that was under construction for a family who had lost theirs. So, we were happy when we pulled up to this:
They even let us stay for a while after the photo op. Miracle of miracles.
We were so glad we stayed because within a few minutes the family who the house was for came over to meet us.
Their home was originally washed a way in a massive flood a few years ago and they have been homeless ever since. If that’s not horrible enough, the mother told us that she lost her two eldest children in the flood. Try to hear that story without sobbing. It’s impossible. I also found it kind of bizarre that they were building the new house for them right next door to the old one, on the same flood plain. Oh well. Thankfully, I had this little chicken nugget in my arms and we couldn’t help but smile again.
I wanted to keep her so badly. She was so sweet. Eventually our herders patience wore thin and we were dragged away. They finally seemed to get the memo and took us to a leprosy center to visit with the patients. Since 1984, new cases of leprosy can bee treated and be made non-contagious. But, you have to receive the treatments before you’ve had the disease for one year. New cases are treated as out-patients while those before 1984 have to be permanently hospitalized.
We spent several hours with the patients who were diagnosed before 1984 and were still suffering the horrors of the disease. Before the treatments were developed, anyone found having leprosy was sent off to a colony and isolated from society. Some of the people we visited had been there for over 80 years. Because of the stigma of the disease, they almost never get visitors, so we were excited to get to spend some quality time visiting with them.
This gentleman was blind and wanted us to take a picture with him so that we could remember the good looking man we met. He was hilarious. He was also 105, how crazy is that! It was a great experience and a good reminder to us all to spend more time volunteering with marginalized populations when we get home.
After spending the afternoon at the hospital, we were told that we were going to ride on a snake boat. I imagined something fabulous like this:
Snake boats are super cool and we were extremely excited. Unfortunately, when we were slightly off on our concept.
Not quite the same. I don’t know where the miscommunication happened, but we put on our smiles and climbed aboard.
Vanessa and I made super cool newspaper hats and we were so glad we did, because the rest of us burned. Taking white people out on the open water sans shade for two hours is a really horrible idea.
We had just enough time to get home before racing off to our evening Rotary meeting. I think we scared them with our burned bodies.