I have my frustrations and rewards. Traumatized by the lack of funds –which has forced our teams to cut their budgets and curtail their activities, I spend days and weeks on the Internet looking for new sources of funds. Exhausting.
But Thursday I was with the team in the villages, we stopped at Thu’s house. Small, made of wood and earth, iron sheets. Not a single piece of land. Her husband is a daily laborer. 2 children. Thu has only one leg and cannot work as before. «I have had the tuberculoses of the bones; the doctor said we had to cut that leg. He pitied me and did not take money for cutting it.
-But why could you not get treated before?
-The medicines were expensive, 2 euros per month, and I am not sure they were good. In any case we had no money left and I was not taking the proper dose. When it became too painful I went to the hospital.»
Here there is no insurance. A health problem, a house destroyed by a tornado and the whole family plunges into deep poverty for long. Nothing but expedients and the neighbors’ solidarity.
«But from what do you live?
-(She smiles) Oh, we manage, my husband does good work, he earns 1,5 euro a day.
-What does he do?
-(Smiles again!) He is a daily laborer!
-There must be days without work then?
-Of course but often the people give a hand, lend us a little rice»!
We gave Thu a micro credit for a pig stall (8 euros) and 2 piglets (32 euros). Thu is a courageous woman. I ask her if she would not rather put a prosthesis:
«Well, how much does that cost?
-If your neighbors contribute, we will double the amount.»
She looks confident. I call Patrick at Handicap: the cheapest is at 40 euros. Manageable.
But the most beautiful thing is Thu’s smile! I left her my morale boosted!
Bernard KERVYN, 10/12/2006