Words cannot express the beauty of the souls and the loving hearts of the brothers and sisters who continue to visit the villages and homes of the lepers. Not only bringing food and medication to lepers but literally feeding and caring for them like a mother caring for her child. Enduring torrential rains, the scorching heat of the sun and the rough terrains, they give their all.
For the past 20 years, along with the missionaries and through prayers, money and time, we have diligently helped many people by providing food, shelter, and education. From the summer of last year until now, we have been able to supply transportation for the students at the leprosarium in Quy Nhơn, scholarships for more than 600 students from leper camps and villages from the North and Central areas of Vietnam, livestock for 9 families, building and renovating shelters for another 9 families, food for the whole year for 30 families, food for 2 years for 3 babies, medicine for 554 people in Dak Glei-Ngọc Hồi- and Tu Morong, medicine for people in Hàm Tân-Bình Thuận, medicine for 250 people of the villages Tang and Ta in Ta Grai-Gia lai, medicine for 16 people of the villages Đut and Khon in ChuProng-Gia Lai, medicine for 150 people from 30 villages of the Jrai people in ChưSê-Gia lai, 500 pairs of shoes and socks for 70 people, 26 bycicles for students living far away from schools, building and restoring 2 water systems at Central Highland and another in Đồng Lệnh-Northen Highland, a small fishing canoe for one family in Cảnh Dương-Quảng Bình, and blankets and winter clothes for villages in Buklui-Buôn Mê Thuộc.
Their lives are becoming more and more miserable not only because of the losses of their ability to work but from the isolation of the society. In the world where the proverb, “the whole leaves cover the torn ones,” is no longer a proverb that puts charity on top of the list of the traditional values but words of cover-up, uncertainty, and camouflaging the truth, the foundation of traditional values is up-side-down. When the education of well-rounded individuals is not set as an important goal, and the main structure of the society is a group of greedy people, following the temporary glamour of power and money, there will be unjust, unfair, discrimination and oppression. The poor and unfortunate will be pushed further and further in the shadow of society.
The unbelievable pain of the lepers lies in the ignorance of many people who believe that the lepers do not exist in this world. The unending misery they endure is the pain of being abandoned when they have been cured. At the brink of the society, they are just waiting for a liberation, waiting for death, waiting for sympathy, waiting for acceptance and waiting for the generosity of others.
Modern medicine can cure leprosy. Two weeks after being treated, the lepers are no longer contagious, but the ancient fears of leprosy still exist in every part of society. Even family members of the lepers are not able to escape from the pain of discrimination. Teachers treat children of the lepers in schools differently; they cannot play with or eat at the same time with other students.
There are no words that can describe their misery. All we can do is continue to pray for them and help them. May the loving God bless them. May Saint Damien pray for them and for each of us to be faithful and persevere on our journey of faith and love! May God bless you with peace and joy!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr Viêt Huynh