Bahadur and Ditya
Our eyes met as I ducked into the room and guess what, he gave me a great big grin… I returned the smile and offered the usual namaste 🙏 greeting, which by the way is just as satisfying to give as receive…
By his side stood his beautiful young wife dressed in red who smiled and then returned to organising his things. It was clear that it was one of those forced smiles that I was now so accustomed to. You know, the one you offer when you shake hands after losing at table tennis… I could see she was hurting and who could blame her. Bahatpur had broken his back on a rock after being pushed into the water by his friends, he will never walk again. How it happened doesn’t matter, nor the fact that I was looking at a man with a broken back. What hit me was that I was looking at a mother who’s kids had now been taken away and a wife who would be caring for her husband for the rest of her life. Just take that in for a second….
Life in a wheelchair here is not easy. The most obvious problem is that to say this country is hilly would be an understatement, and even if you are fortunate enough to live away from the hills you would do well to find an even surface. So that’s mobility out of the window but the main issue is work. The majority of the jobs are manual labour and there is no subsidy in place for employing the disabled. The brutal truth is that in a lot of rural areas people who can’t work are pushed out by their own family as they cant afford another mouth to feed.
Part of the plan is to not only rehabilitate patients to maximise their recovery but to train, educate and ultimately help them get jobs and repatriate themselves into the community. This for me is the most important part of the whole process and the one that will make the most difference to not only the individuals but their families.
Yet another humbling day in the real world. 🙏🇳🇵