Wednesday, 28 May 2008


Gentle readers. We are dealing with a computer at home that does not work. Not quite like the unfortunate machine in the pic, but functionally the same.

Our blog has stuttered a bit in the last few weeks - one from the sheer bliss of holiday - two from the back-log of work waiting on return (including a camp at Pune 2 days after coming back) and finally the dear computer packing up.

Will try to keep updated, but we are at the mercy of technology (to a certain extent at least). Cheers!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Postcards from Paradise

The silence is like a weight. So still. A rustle of leaves as the wind blesses the trees outside.

Landour, Mussoorie. Shanti Kunj. Our home for a soul-enriching 2 weeks.

All the more fun as Asha and Enoch were along with us to give us new eyes to explore and enjoy the place!

You just cannot beat a view like this out the huge windows that line the upper and lower floors of Mum and Dad's home. I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real.

But we did not only gaze out at the view over cups of coffee - we went. Almost every day was a picnic somewhere. One day Fairy Glen (below) another Mt. Hermon flats, once over to Library Bazaar, till we finally went up Flag Hill on our final day. We are very proud of our little hikers (with minimal complaints from them!).
It was great to have Joanna (Sheba's sister Sarah's daughter) along with us 10 days. What a treat for the cousins to be together (and for us all!).
Post cards from paradise. A taste of what is to come.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Extreme Multi Drug Resistant TB

I am not afraid of HIV. I know that since Sheba and I are faithful to each other - and we take simple but effective steps known as universal precautions in the health care setting that we are safe from contracting HIV.

TB is an entirely different matter.
It spreads in the air by droplets. It can be present in a closed room for upto 36 hours after a person has coughed in it.
It is very common in our dear land of India. And very common among our friends with HIV.
TB is often untreated, or poorly treated. The former leads to death. The latter to death as well - but in the mean time brings about multidrug resistant TB. Today's world has a 3 new letters that spell fear: XDR - extreme drug resistant TB - tuberculosis that is shown to be resistant to all the 4 or 5 basic medications used in TB treatment.
We have a lady who has multidrug resistant TB. She may be our first known XDR case. Its our dear 'Mrs. Candy'. Today her culture and drug sensitivity reports came back. She is resistant to all 5 basic medications used to treat TB. She is still sputum positive despite twice having taken the full course of the meds.
What can we do? To replace each drug will mean costs over over Rs. 200,000 per year. Plus the many potential side-effects and the rigorous monitoring that this entails. In South Africa, people with TB are put in hospitals - and not allowed to leave until they are sputum negative. Some of the hospitals have become jails. Mrs. Candy doesn't even have a home. For her a jail would be a kind of a blessing - with some meals and a set of walls around her.
Please pray for Mrs. Candy. We are about to start her on the basic re-treatment course again - as we do not have other options at this point. We consulted our colleagues at SHALOM Delhi about a government scheme to put known MDR patients on second-line TB therapy for some months and then send them back to their homes to complete the 2 year treatment. Dr. Saira Paulose told us that everyone they sent to the place left against medical advice soon after going there - thus defaulting on their treatment. In discussing the matter with our colleague , Dr. Adam, he said that 20% of people on retreatment do manage to overcome the bacteria even in multi-drug resistant settings. Its not a high number, but its all we have for Mrs Candy at this point. That and the power of prayer.
Pray for us too. If we inhale Mrs. Candy's XDR TB bacilli - and they manage to colonise us too - then we have the same set of treatment options open to us. Pray for each staff member who is exposed to these dangers everyday. We do what we do for love - because our Lord Jesus did it for us in the first place - but need strength and hope to carry on.
Macrophages and tuberculosis bacteria. Macrophages are among the most important defense protection of the body. Tuberculosis bacteria however "hide" in the macrophages and are thus able to survive. (Image: MPI for Infection Biology/Volker Brinkmann) For more info, click: here


Premila celebrated her birthday yesterday. She has now spent half of her life so far in the US - after the bulk of the first half being in India. Here's looking at you Sister! May God grant you many more circles around the sun - and may each one of them be far sweeter than the previous spins!

Tomorrow Premi leaves the US, having spent the last few years in Boise, Idaho. Premi will head over to the UK to attend a residential experience in inner healing and deliverance at the Ellel Ministries in N. England. In early July she will be coming out to India and helping out Mum and Dad in their ministry with Ellel.

I am proud of my sister - of the positive choices she is making in her life.

At the beginning of this year we looked back at our extended family and marvelled at the wonderful changes that took place in Peter and Yashmeet's life. They now see their stay in Kenya primarily as being there to help others know God better - rather than being the Africa representative for a large immigration consultancy. Seeing what God did in their lives we have been praying for similar changes in our lives - and in the life of Premi. We cannot be bound to the past. Life is too short.

Its an exciting time for all of us Eichers and the Thane branch of the family are all looking forward to when we can meet up with Premi!.

Take these broken wings

and learn to fly again

learn to live and love so free

and when we hear the voices sing

the book of love will open up for us

and let us in

- Mr. Mister