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Anywhere but here

Written by Dr Sunder Rao Bethapudy

anywhereThis is the story of Mr.R.P

R.P graduated as a teacher in 1955. He worked as a teacher in his native village. He is married with young children. Life was going on smoothly and he was the main bread winner for the family. Initially he noticed few pale whitish patches over his legs and arms. He did not think of much of it and carried on for some years. However the patches increased in number. Mr R.P noticed there was some alteration in touch sensation too and some patches were completely numb with no sensation. He then saw a doctor who gave him some ointment which Mr R.P applied. However the patches kept on growing in number. He was advised to see a Leprosy doctor which he did. He was then told he has Leprosy. At that time there was only a single drug called Dapsone and he was told to take it for life long.


With no hope of a cure in a short time, Mr R.P's world literally collapsed around him. Overnight he lost his job, his standing in the community, his wife and his children and had to leave home for a hostel for Leprosy patients in a different town away from his family. Imagine packing his clothes knowing that he will never again come back to his own house.

His family and relatives told him simply to live anywhere but his home.


The community in the Hostel was entirely new to him, besides he was a graduate and a teacher. He had a great difficulty in adjusting with the new community in the Hostel with his new mates. Gradually he settled in the hostel but was always missing his wife and growing children.


Time went on and over the years he has seen his children growing, only from outside his house and that too for a short time. His wife never remarried and raised the children on her own.


In 2008 when I met him for the first time, he had the disease for over 30 years and the disease has taken its toll with collapse of nasal bridge, deformed hands and feet. Mr R.P told me that his children have grown up and married now and in fact he is a grandfather. His grand children come and visit him often with their parents. That is his joy and indeed he is very proud of his grandchildren.


He is proud to see his grand- children free of disease, living in the community with dignity and respect.



In his great adversity Mr.R.P still maintains his smile and willing ness to talk to me in great detail about his affliction. I admire Mr.R.P for his tenacity and the love he has for his family.


James, The Lord Jesus Christ’s half-brother earlier misunderstood and indeed challenged Jesus mission (john 7:2-5). Later he became a leader in the early church in Jerusalem A.D 40-50, earned a reputation for wisdom and godliness. He says In James1:2-4


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops Perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

In real life it is never easy to face and greet trails with joy. We are more likely, if anything to get angry, feel bitter and dejected sometimes even towards God for allowing such things into our lives. However James here tells us God allows these things to happen to us to strength our faith and to stand steadfast and dependable like the love God has for us.

Discovering that love God has for us in the midst of adversity is not only a human need but it is also our refuge.

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World Leprosy Day 2015

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