Out Of The Darkness
In 2006 I traveled to three provinces in China; Yunnan, Guangdong and Guangxi on assignment for Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific office.
I visited three communities where villagers who had contacted leprosy years ago, had been relocated in order to cure their disease, some who had been there since the 1950’s.
The majority of them were in their 70s and 80s and recounted with me, the hardships they endured in their younger years.
Isolated and ridiculed, their will to survive was remarkable. In one community, the villagers described how they watched helplessly while their homes were burned by people from neighboring villages, who feared their leprosy would spread to their villages.
It took years before they were excepted within their communities by villagers knowing that they had been cured years ago.
I learned from them that they could forgive and continue with their lives with the help from each other and from the international organizations who sought to improve their lives.
Beginning in 2002, Habitat for Humanity International, partnered with Leprosy Mission International, Bless China International, Lions Club International, Center for Disease Control Singapore and the local offices of China’s Disabled person’s Federation.
A total of 150 houses have been built which provided new and safe housing for these villagers who in the past, had little hope.