Saturday, August 15, 2009

Musings of a missionary doctor in the land of Nagas - Part II

psalm 119:117
May Jesus hold us up that we may be safe and have regard for His statutes continually.

Little snippets from the mission diary :) just to keep my promise in the first mail,that i'd continue..

We wanted to get an early start ,so we packed 6 boiled eggs and few bananas for breakfast... the previous night we had called our man at the village to give information of our arrival, but the ever-failing mobile phone range ,failed us yet again!;)The walk to Waphr was 16 km one way. Our Sr. Sismy was with us, she too had walked... this kind of humility , really impressed the baptist pastor,he said that their clergy always travel by vehicle.He offered to transport us back when we were finished with our program,but of course-we chose to walk :) Due to lack of forewarning, the women had mostly all left for their fields. We still gave health education to the 8 or 9 women folk who had stayed behind in the village due to breastfeeding babies and other little ones. We had our packed breakfast with the tea they provided. After the class, the house which had hosted us , provided us with lunch. Our cook that day was a 19 year old girl with a 5 month old baby... I remember them clearly , because while i playfully used my steth on the baby, to my utter amazement , i heard a heart sound that indicated a hole in the heart!!! In college , our profs used to try and teach us this... so taking this lead i asked this girl if her baby used to get distressed while breast feeding, and frequent chest infections.. she confirmed the text book symptoms... so there, in that village, i made my first diagnosis of a probable VSD in a baby. :) I advised her of the baby's need for good medical care.3 days later , I met that girl in the PHC in town.( Of course this PHC is quite primitive in its facilities, but its a start! This mommy must travel 3 more hours before they can reach higher centers , that are not fantastic, but may have a pediatrician. ...)
Going downhill ,we just need to be alert not to slip, but climbing up is quite 'the' endurance test! We stop to catch our breath only when the chest threatens to burst :) After climbing a steep hill, exhausted ,we girls stretched out on the grass while the boys ran into a house on that hilltop to fill our bottle with water.Though our throats were dry, humor never dried out, laughing and singing ,our spirits were always enjoying a high :)Praise God!

These long walks to villages through picturesque hillsides, fields and valleys, invariably welded us together.We discovered the unique beauties hidden in each of our friends, as we shared a song here, a carrybag there, and short stops to eat bananas and rest.We found out how the sister with us loved to collect ferns and pine cones for dry flower decorations for the chapel... we reached home from Waphr that evening ,with practically a 'bag-ful' of the forest!
Jesus is very clever at preparing soul-stirring surprises... I felt this facet of His love through little children. An eight year old boy and later a 4 year old girl, on different occasions.. . they would unexceptionably take a fancy to me [as if on a cue from Him ;) ]come to me and make me play with them ,gift me a plum or a flower... they barely knew me, yet they trusted themselves to me, completely! Only God knows how much they comforted me unknowingly with their innocence and freely gifted love!

One evening ,on a day when i had experienced some sadness, Father took us for a babas' (father's) meeting in PWD colony. He had asked uncle Philip (our older JY member) to give the gathering a talk.As we reached the house , the above mentioned 4 year old girl, Limreila, met me for the first time.She examined my rosary, my stethoscope, and opened my umbrella, then replaced everything in my bag ,before climbing into my lap and playing with me. She let me carry her to the neighbors' house, and later nestled next to me and pretended to read a hymnal throughout the talk.By the end of the talk, she took the stick of the agarbathi that had burnt out and pretended to pierce my hand with it.I had been quietly enjoying her childish antics and friendship, it really made me forget my sadness. By then I had given her many little kisses... so as she played her game of 'nailing' my hand , i thought to myself... 'Man, this is just like us. Jesus loves us and pets us so much and after enjoying His love so long, we just playfully, hammer nails into His hands! stupid us!'.As we were leaving , Limreila made me pick her up.She had decided to come back with us to Father's house.But of course we couldn't take her along ...

"ah, she is quite a philosopher isn't she? lets pat her on the back..." from you guys is not quite the aim of this narration!;) ... what followed is what amazed me... devout catholic though i am , due to my aversion to calenders and remembrances (which, unfortunately, is so vital to social living), it totally came as a surprise when Father told us that the day's mass would be in honor of the Sacred Heart ,whose feast it was on that day. The first reading was Hosea 11:1 onwards... "when Israel was a child , I loved him....Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them...I was to them like those who LIFT INFANTS TO THEIR CHEEKS.I bent down to them and fed them." I remembered Limreila :) The gospel was about the crucifixion. .. John 19:34" instead, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and at once blood and water came out."

So like that the Holy Spirit had preached the word to me before the mass itself! It was mission experience par excellence ,to me :)"O taste and see, that the Lord is good!For He tastes like honey in the rock...He is my everything,He is my la la"

The clergy and religious of the diocese of Nagaland are a living witness to the fire of love that Christians everywhere are called to share. 12-hour journeys through bumpy , hair-pin-curve roads would be interspersed every 3 hours with the hospitality of priests and nuns of the parishes along the way.Their love for Fr. Francis (our priest) would make them open their hearts,houses and convents to us generously. Father only had to give them a heads-up , and there would be ready for us breakfast, lunch,tea or dinner!:) In Kohima, we were given a guided tour of the cathedral (which is the largest in Asia) by Fr.Benny, the Bishop's secretary. It was something memorable, to hold in my hand, the big toe of the 18 feet tall Jesus on the central crucifix, carved out of a single piece of wood (except for the arms) hanging on the wall,behind the altar.

Thank you Jesus , and all of you who as Jesus Youth made this mission possible.
God bless you all.
Please remember me in your sms's to heaven ;) my md entrance exam preparations and the exams themselves.. cos God hears the prayers of His saints :)
In Jesus and Mama Mary

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