Friday, 4 July 2008

Cleft palate

Mrs. Maninder has two children. Her older one had a cleft palate.

We first got to know the family through her brother. Her husband had brought her brother to us for treatment. Her brother had HIV and TB. We treated him. He got better and went back to Africa where he had been working previously.

The next time we saw him he was back from Africa and very sick. This time Mrs. Maninder and her husband were not in Thane having gone back to their home in another city.

Mrs. Maninder's brother died alone. His money and his rooms that he owned were taken over by his friend.

Sadly a few months later we found out that Mrs. Maninder's husband had also died. Of HIV.

It was only when she came back to Thane with her new-born child that we realised the full extent of the damage in her family. Her husband was dead. Her other brother a drunkard. She was living next to a garbage dump in a small shack in the rain.

Her older daughter had a cleft lip.

It looked totally hopeless.

By God's grace we were able to win her trust and have her accepted at a wonderful rehabilitation home for women and children infected and affected by a dear colleagues of ours.

The idea was to stabilise her daughter till she could have her surgery for her cleft lip.

A small grace was that her daughter did not breast feed due to her cleft lip. When we tested her she was HIV negative.

Over the past 2 years Mrs. Maninder has been in the rehabilitation institution.

She is now ready to come back. Her daughters lip and palate has been surgically improved. The three are healthy.

Now its her time to come back.

To what?

Her in-laws want nothing to do with her. Mrs. Maninder's brother is untraceable. Her parents are long-since dead. We don't know of other relations.

Beneath the surface is another cleft - one that is not visible on the outside, but just as ugly.

Before her husband died he was working with the Public Works Department. He was suspended for some issue - and forced to move out of his quarters. Instead the family broke open the lock of another quarters and squatted there.

Mrs. Maninder has hopes of getting her husband's pension. She even hopes to get his job on compassionate grounds.

We need much wisdom for the next steps. How to rebuild a life with so many deep fissures?

We are glad for our colleagues and the wonderful work they have done for Mrs. Maninder over these past 2 years. It is a joy to see the smile on Mrs. Maninder's daughter's face. The scar is still there - but it is so much better than what it was previously.

Now the next step. A step of faith to find a church willing to support this brave lady - with the many clefts - mainly unseen.

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