You are walking down the dirt road and you hear some moaning in the shadows just ahead. You stop as you see something crawl out of the condensed space. At first glance you see a shaggy looking dog but as you look again you realize it’s no dog but a sickly man. As you stand there staring in astonishment you notice something: what you thought to be matted fur wasn’t fur at all. As you strain your eyes to see what it is you finally make out white bandages with red and pussy russet color staining it. “How could anybody live like this?” you question appalled.
I hate saying this but the dreadful disease that this man has is called leprosy. This terrible ailment affects many people: one out of ten in India. Leprosy is a disorder where a tiny virus, almost like a bug, is eating away at your skin. A short glimpse at an infected victim would just show an extensive amount of sores. Naturally, contact to the air makes the sores sear, agonizing the sufferer. To ease the pain of their abrasion the lepers must wrap the sores with bandages. If you were to uncover the sores all you would set eyes on is muscle with remnants of skin.
Leprosy, although curable, is a painful condition that can leave the victims deformed and crippled. It can also cause damage to the skin, nerves, and eyes if the virus is left untreated. The leprosy bacteria attack the nerves: resulting in the hands and feet of the sufferer to go numb. On the numb areas cuts and burns will occur, leading to infection. The infection leads to amputation of your feet. Paralysis causes fingers and toes to curl up permanently.
My very good friend grew up in India were leprosy is a heavy burden. As I was talking to him he told me about it. If you saw a leper he would be all alone. If you stayed around the infected person too long or you touched them you would be diagnosed. The lepers would be cast out of the city and forced to go live in a rundown hamlet on the outskirts of the town. He described the terrible stench that would lurch around the area: smelling it made you almost vomit.
No matter what you did in your life, or what someone else did in their life, no one deserves to bear that heavy being in denial, unaided and so exposed. No matter the person, if I picture them as that shaggy man my insides start to churn. I feel a kind of remorse, knowing that people are secluded just because of their outward appearance.
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