Updated: Apr 20
By: Alice ‘Clare’ Augustine
In February of 2014, accompanied by some like-minded friends, I visited several ostracized, leprosy-ridden villages in the south of India, with the aim of improving the nutritional status of children in these villages, by providing a high protein energy bar. It was then that I first came to know that there existed a “World without Physical Pain”. It was also the first time, I understood what a blessing it is that these leprosy patients that suffer so much ghastly disfigurement literally do not feel physical pain.
Quite in contrast, our children with leprosy endure, day in and day out a different kind of pain – pain of separation, the pain of not looking beautiful, the pain of being kept out of schools and colleges, the pain of being cut-off from the society and the pain of losing out on news, food rations, medicines, healthcare etc.
The Happy Bar and the Happy Bar team were created to help bring nutrition and good health to them in their villages, so that their health would improve, and they would be less prone to catch the disease. Our hope is that over time, some will be healthy enough to leave the village and become part of the society that they are kept out of.
The Happy Bar team and all its champions strive to get Happy Bars to the children and adults of the villages so that they can grow to step into a world outside theirs.
I cannot imagine how one of our children might be feeling but I thought I’d jot down a few lines that express what the children or their parents have told me over time about their hopes and aspirations, that they would like told.
Thoughts of a child:
I look yonder beyond the tree line.
Wondering how good it would be.
To step into the new world
The world beyond me
Lend me a hand dear stranger.
Let me peek at the wonder.
A wonder lies beyond the trees.
The dreams beyond my means.
Look at me dear brother.
See me, beyond my skin.
We both are hurting.
From outside and within.
Lend me your hand dear friend.
And help me cross the threshold.
I know I can make it.
If you meet me there.