Saturday, 22 March 2008

Mrs. Samrath

Mrs. Samrath is the widow of a fruit seller who we met early in the Jeevan Sahara experience. He was HIV positive and suffering from TB. She found out that she was positive too. We went through a number of cycles of care with him - finally urging her to have him admitted at the JSK centre for inpatient care.

She refused and instead took him to his village. He died there. We think it was probably to do with the small plot of land that he possessed in his name. Judging by the look on her face during those days we wonder about possession of another kind.


A few months ago - after a very, very long time - Mrs. Samrath surfaced again. She was sick. Her fruit business was still running - the little cart she used continues to be her main source of income. She had also found an NGO that was helping her out with various items - and had become a field-worker for them for some time.

One of our staff - Lata - took a special burden for Mrs. Samrath. We started hearing more about her - and then she came for a checkup. She had also started to take interest in things of God and had attended the 'healing prayer' that is conducted at Vasai.

We referred Mrs. Samrath to a the local government hospital to start her anti-retroviral therapy (ART) - the medications that reduce the HIV to minimal levels - allowing the body to recoup its immunity. We were happy when we heard that she had been started on the medication right away.
Shortly afterwards - at one of our weekly staff meetings we discussed Mrs. Samrath. She had come the day before and said that she had already stopped taking the ART medications. We were aghast. These meds have to be taken at a 95% compliance level - you should be taking it so that you miss less than 3 per month. To have her stop so soon was horrible.
Sister Lata went over to Mrs. Samrath's home that evening. Her ears were still ringing from the dressing down of not following-up on her and allowing a lapse to happen so quickly.
When Lata arrived at the house it was in darkness.
Mrs. Samrath was not happy to see her. A man was fixing her electricals. Lata asked if she could come in. Grudgingly Mrs. Samrath obliged. Lata sat quietly as the man continued his work. Mrs. Samrath angrily said she did not want to come to JSK again. She was not going to carry on with her medications.
As this conversation was going on, the wife of the repair-man came with their daughter. She started shouting at him. Their daughter had managed to put mud in her eyes that morning and despite taking her to local doctors, was in pain and could not open her eyes. Why was he doing this work - when he should be taking them to the specialist?
Lata talked to the woman. Did she know about Jesus? He touched people who were blind. Could she pray for the girl? The woman agreed, and there in the darkness Lata prayed for the little girl. She asked her to open her eyes. The girl did not. Lata told the family: "Take her to the doctor, and let him see her. Her eyes will open." The electricity had been fixed and the small family left.
Lata continued to listen to Mrs. Samrath. She was upset at the thought that she should choose between deities. 'If you have some handicapped member of your family - do you ignore them or push them out of your house?' she asked. Lata told her that whatever choice she would make would have to be her own. She shared her own story about how Jesus had changed her life totally - and how she was wholly devoted to him.
The conversation was cut short when the family came back excitedly. She little girl had opened her eyes. The doctor had done a quick examination and pronounced her fine. The woman had remembered that the sister who was visitng Mrs. Samrath had prayed for the child in the name of Jesus.
Signs and wonders do not belong to only the 'olden days' - they are seen today among the poor and broken. Mrs. Samrath's demeanour had gradually been changing. Lata left the home - having seen a miracle. She was there way beyond the 'call of duty' in the first place - and saw God answer prayer in a dramatic way - and had left having seen Mrs. Samrath's heart warm a bit too.
Before Lata left, Mrs. Samrath had said she would keep coming to Jeevan Sahara - and that she would start her ART medicine again. She took her first dose in Lata's presence. There is still a long road to walk in Mrs. Samrath's life - but in the midst of darkness we see light.

No comments:

Post a Comment