I was well immersed in my outpatient work multi-tasking as usual, seeing patients, advising my juniors, watching the patient’s get impatient when I noticed that a lady with a small child was just standing in one corner of the room.I don’t like other patients hanging around when I am in consultation with a patient so I looked questioningly at Radha who immediately pounced on the 
duo.She was very careful because they looked like tribals and very poor.The lady kept pointing at me and seemed to not have registered as is the procedure .
That was when I realised that we had struck gold.
They were actually from the community we had been reaching out to with clinics every week and in various other ways.This was a small step towards victory and I am very grateful to God for it.
It is a community of ‘musahirs’ originally so called because they were rat eaters.
They live in their so-called village /slum ,work as daily labourers ,eat when they work and form the part of India’s huge figures in child malnutrition ,wasting and stunting ,the majority on whom the rainy season comes as a challenge with extra expense, death, disease and backlog in their growth and living which they never make up for in life and the burden keeps adding on till in some cases death releases them or does it?
Their houses are shacks and their outdoors two huge slimy ponds with pigs lolling about.Flies easily outnumber all other forms of living creatures.
They cook meals on wood-fire,which consists mostly of rice.
When there is chicken curry in any house every household knows about it.
On my first visit I noticed a hovel with a group of children ,all below the age of six watching an intense drama on a 14 inch black and white television.One little child of five was cross dressed with a sari shabbily draped around him ,rest of them were half naked with orange hair and pot-bellies but all of them had smiles on their faces, more than fascinated by the strange aliens who had decided to visit them.In one of the houses a quiet lady was eating a meal of chicken and rice but carried a child with marismus on her hip.
The lady hastily got up in between her meal to talk to us.We asked her to get the baby to the hospital .
In one corner I noticed a hill of rice on a plate which was covered with a swarm of flies.
When I mentioned it ,she said it was for the hogs.
The baby never came to the hospital.Two weeks later we got the message that the baby passed away.
When I offered to do the saturday clinic we already had a man of peace in the village.My colleagues had done their bit of groundwork and we had some children from the community coming to us for informal and formal education in one of the English schools but nevertheless every time we visit I realise how dependant on the grace of God we are .For me ,the motto ,’We treat and God heals’holds a new meaning altogether in these places where we are not merely fighting diseases we see with the human eyes ,but baggages which years of oppression,ignorance,casteism,superstition,poverty ,segregation ,apathy of the privellaged class and ill health has stacked against them .
Sama all of twelve years tells me very shyly ,’He does not go to school because his father does not allow him.’He is a child labourer collects leaves in the jungle for rolling bidis.If he does not do it there is no food for the family.
I always remember Dr KV in one of the LRS’s telling us how if one wants an integrity check we need to observe if the needy are coming to us .If they are ,we are doing allright because that was Jesus’ way during His time on earth.
But truth be told we are not the Christ and more we delve into this work the more I realise how in our poverty stricken state we are so dependant on Him for His grace even as we venture out into these places which are dear to Him.
''Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.''


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