Sai May Lin
Sai May Lin (name has been changed)
Life was a struggle but manageable. Her husband could usually find work in the patty fields or as a gardener. Earnings were not much but enough to ensure their daughters were healthy. At age 40, she had not expected more and had settled into the present where she devoted her time, energy, and interest to caring for her family.
Most days ended in contented exhaustion, and then there was that night. The night her body was telling her something she simply did not understand. Over the ensuing weeks, the strange changes to her skin caused her thinking to go from being puzzled to being alarmed.
However, there was no medical clinic anywhere close to their village. Months passed and being able to shroud her condition became increasingly difficult.
Under the guise of visiting her sister, she made her way to Yangon. Exhausted from the secrecy, she cautiously shared her situation with her sister. Her desperation was rewarded as the friendship of their hearts brought tears of oneness to their faces. Later that week, as a result of a doctor’s examination, her suspicions were confirmed. She had leprosy.
Since that time nearly two years ago, she has received the appropriate treatments; however, her body has been reacting negatively to the drug therapy. She is undergoing different treatments with no idea about her future.
Time and again, patients throw themselves upon the mercy of their home villages only to learn that walls have been built up through ignorance about their disease- an ignorance that denies the healing and freedom years of treatment offer. This is a unique social ill whose root of ignorance runs deep through the generations and traps villagers in a web of insecurity from which they seldom escape.
Gradually, out of a sense of frustration, patients lay aside their dreams of going back to their villages and reuniting with their families and surrender to the bondage of hopelessness.
To learn more about Love for Myanmar’s ministry to the leprosy hospital and village, you may want to obtain a copy of Gary Watkins’ book Outside Our Hearts.