Dearest Columban Benefactors,
I hope that each one of you is blessed in a special way this Christmas; my earnest prayer for you during Christmas and the New Year (2016) is that you and your families will be protected from all danger and be blessed with good health.
On behalf of all the patients that we minister to daily I want to say a very sincere Thank You. Your support and prayers have reached out to many poor and struggling people; people who have very little of this world’s trappings but who awaken each day knowing that survival is overshadowing every movement and choice they make.
I would like to introduce you to one such family: Zau lng, his wife Roi Twang and their son Ma Naw. They are the Holy family of today’s world; they are steeped in poverty; poverty of ‘not having’, poverty of ‘health’ and poverty of ‘acceptance’. The one thing they have is dignity and this came across very forcefully when I asked them if I could take a family photo. Roi Twang’s first response was, “Oh my shoes are too poor and dirty”. In the above photo you will notice that she holds her feet up and under her skirt. She then protested she had to don the only presentable skirt she had. I can be so busy providing care and helping those struggling plan for their needs but deep in the human psyche is the desire for the poor to have dignity, to come across well, to be seen to have what the other takes for granted and to be respected.
Zau lng’s family is really poor. They live in a ‘watch man’s’ house, minding the property of some wealthy family. The roof is still on the house but the walls have taken a mighty battering. When I asked Zau if he was cold at night he said, “we have no wood to light a fire and very little clothing”. Thanks to your generous help we were able to give them a bag of rice for the Christmas, warm clothes for all three of them and warm clothing for the frosty night we have presently.
Zau lng contacted the HIV virus about 4 years ago. He looks well but the virus has left him totally blind and with severe diabetes. His son sitting next to him is mentally handicapped and never went to school, his older son who is not in the photo is a heroin drug user, and his wife is illiterate. The Columban Sisters gave them two small piglets a few months back and continually supervise the wife as to the best practice in rearing the piglets.
Zau lng tells us often that when he was healthy he provided for his family but now he feels sad and rejected. Being HIV positive, many of his friends and extended family avoid him, some even point the finger at him when he walks on the road. For me Zau lng is a gentle soul with a very welcoming smile, he rarely complains, he loves a visit and loves to have someone listen to him.
Zau lng is your friend too; you have helped to lighten his burden and for this he is grateful. Many, many thanks for your generosity, we do appreciate your care, concern and support and do know that we remember you and your families in our prayers every day.
Blessings and peace to you this Christmas
Sr Mary Dillon
Columban Sr Mary Dillon has worked in Myanmar (former Burma) since 2002. She has developed a home care health program for people living with HIV/AIDS and established a respite house, The Hope Centre, to enable people from distant places to avail medical care.