The Leper Colony
|Some Patients at the Colony|
These first few days in Kolkata have been going well. I don’t think that I have waved so much in my entire life! Here it’s as if we are celebrities. People will come up to us and want to take pictures with us. There will be many times where we are in the bus and it will come to a stop. The people in the bus across from us will make eye contact and you can tell that they are intrigued to see you. Some of them will wave and if they don’t then when you wave to them you are met with a prompt wave and smile. There was one instance, we were coming back from our boat trip on the Ganges River. While we were waiting for the bus there was a truck with probably fifty people in the back. They were all very excited to see us and they were waving and smiling. Then as the bus drove away they continued to wave and I wanted to see how far they would go until they stopped waving. As long as I kept waving they waved back and they continued waving until they could no longer see me over the traffic.
Seeing this woman’s joy was something that I appreciated a lot. There was a point after we were done singing that was funny: I had a pair of sunglasses on my head and I saw that she had noticed them. I reached up and handed her my sunglasses and without hesitation she placed them on her face. It was wonderful to see the joy that she received from such a simple thing as sunglasses.
I also had the opportunity to sing and play drums at the leper colony with some of my brother seminarians. Again, this was such a simple thing but it brought so much laughter and happiness and joy. There was one boy who I let play on the drum and he would not leave our side until we were done playing.
Today was a great day, very exhausting but full of joy. Most of all it defied all of my expectations. I thought that the leper colony would be a place a disease and death. Instead I found that this was a place of life and laughter and joy and community. It has really helped me to see the circumstances of my life and know that in all of them there is an opportunity to have joy and laughter.