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Final (?) letter from India

We are now coming to the end of our visit to India. It’s been a great time, seeing all the people who you have helped and are helping though your incredible generosity.

One such is Biju, a 31-year-old man who we found bedridden with polio in a small house that he shares with his family. His mother is a woman of incredible energy and determination, who wanted a wheelchair for him, so that he could go out to the nearby cross-roads and sell lottery tickets – a common way that disabled people have of scraping a living in this part of India. However, there was a problem – the house was at the top of a narrow rough winding path that we struggled to walk up – totally unsuitable for a wheelchair. So, rather than turn them down, we said that they would need to build a suitable track for the wheelchair, and went on our way confident that this was the last that we would hear of the matter. Imagine our surprise when, a week later, we had a phone call – the path had been built. We went with a wheelchair to demonstrate just how impossible this was – and there was a freshly made concrete path up the side of the hill! The family were delighted with the wheelchair, and Biju can now look forward to a more meaningful life, making a contribution to his family.

Another large part of our work is providing immunosuppressant drugs for kidney transplant patients who cannot afford them. Unusually we supply 10 days’ medicines a month, with the family providing the rest. This is a growing area of work, as organs from accident victims are now being used, so there are more people with transplants these days. At this month’s distribution we had a bit of excitement – Shibin had come along, who suffers from hemophilia, and was looking for help with the high cost of factor IX injections. Suddenly there was a shout – he had started to bleed badly. Tom rushed off with him to the nearby hospital, leaving Chris and me to continue the distribution. We just about managed! But then we were left, in a country where the people around us spoke little or no English, we spoke no Malayalam, and no Tom! Eventually someone called Shibu, Shibu found Tom for us and took over our patient, and we were able to continue with our programme. Life in India is certainly never dull!

Tomorrow Tom is off to the local hospital with Rekha, a 17-year-ol girl who has breast cancer. One large lump has been removed already, but there are more problems that need to be resolved, and she needs more tests that need to be paid for. Thanks to your gifts, we are confident that the problems can be solved and that she will be able to look forward to a bright future.

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