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Click heThere had been a severe drought in Huidong this year, younger villagers needed to walked more than 4km carry water from the water source for the PALs and villagers. That brought lots of inconvenience to everyone in the home. All the plantation of crops was delayed due to the drought. Project staff conducted a detailed survey for the feasibility of water project for the home and had a general meeting with all PALs and villagers regarding the water project. Agreement of implementing water project and agreement of labour input for the water project were duly signed after the meeting. Location for the water tanks and size of the water pipes allowed by the government was also confirmed. The board of The Leprosy Project received and approved the plan and budget for the water project which shall be implemented after the rain season, by end of October this year. The project shall benefit 81 PALs and villagers from 43 households to solve the problem in shortage of water for daily household use and irrigation.
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12 members from our community management committees from 6 villages participated in the training held in Xichang in Mid-July. Participants understood the importance of the roles of community management team in the development of their communities as well as the principles, methods and procedures through sharing and summarizing their experience in implementing programs in the past. It was the first time the members from our new villages from Yanyuan, Yuexi and Mianning participated in the entire training in program implementation through participatory approach.
The story of Li Runlian began before she was born 82 years ago. This is her story as told to our Village Coordinator in Luding.
I am now 82 years old; it is a miracle that I am still alive today. I was born in Chuni Township of Luding County. My father passed away when I was still in the womb of my mother, and my tragic life began since then. My mother re-married and later I became the elder sister of two brothers and 1 sister. One of my brothers married and went to live with his wife’s family, the other brother left home without a word. My poor little sister, she was born mute.
I was diagnosed with leprosy when I was two and just learning to walk. Red spots and rashes were found on my hands. I received various treatments for years but saw no improvement. My family then locked me up at home to stop the neighbors from finding out. I didn’t feel it was that bad in the beginning, I helped my mom do some household chores. But my illness got worse; all of my limbs began to bend so that I could not do anything at home. My step father began his day by abusing me; I was beaten every day. I tried to kill myself by jumping off a cliff, but I was dissuaded by passers-by. My mother eventually found out about my attempt to commit suicide. She could not bear my being abused by my step-father so she borrowed some money from relatives and walked for a whole day to bring me to the leprosy rehab village where I am now living.
It was a summer day in July of 1970, when I was brought to this mountain village with wooden huts; located at the other side of the river. There were many other patients living here. When I first came here, my disability was more serious than the other villagers. I was bullied by them and most of the time went to sleep on an empty stomach. I ran away to live in the cave on the top of the mountain. I survived by growing and eating raw turnips and other vegetables. One day the doctor from the village hunted pheasants in the area and left a fire burning. I kept the fire going and was finally able to cook myself some hot potatoes and corn. During those years of harsh life in the cave, my health deteriorated further. After two years I found out that the situation in the village was better managed and more under control so I decided to move back to the village.
While my mother was alive, she came to visit me twice a year; she cried profusely every time she visited me. Over the years the society and livelihood had been improving. I received both financial and physical support from the Government. I wrote to my mother inviting her to visit me. She always replied by saying: “You silly girl, you don’t really want to see me; you only want to share with me the meat that was given to you by the Government.” Sadly, happy life like that did not last long, my mother passed away. My heart was broken into pieces. I could not do anything but cry. My mother had gone through the worst days with me and now she could not enjoy the fruit with me. How could I enjoy it by myself, alone? That was the biggest regret in my life; I lost the only person who ever loved me……
In 2008, Rotary Clubs and The Leprosy Project visited our village. They provided me medicine and treatment for my ulcers. Before they came I was taking 5-6 pain killers 5-6 times a day. I still could not bear the pain. Since I was taken care of by the healthcare worker Ms. Wang Li who was trained by The Leprosy Project, my ulcers are much improved. I do not have to take so many pain killers, and of course I have been much happier. I no longer worry about my living as I have been taken good care of by the Project and the Government; I have no worries on any economic issue. I have my own money to spend on food. I have never been happier.
Words from the recorder:
Ms. Li has been living a very harsh life since she was diagnosed with leprosy at the age of 2. She lost both her hands and feet forcing her to walk on her knees. Despite her circumstances, all I see is her smiling face every time I visit this village. She not only takes good care of herself, but she also farms on her land even she is now 82 years old. Her fortitude, optimism and attitude towards life have inspired every one of the Project office.