Entrance to Anandaban

Stuart in Nepal – A Long Awaited Return

I can’t believe it’s been over 13 years since I’ve been able to visit Anandaban Hospital outside Kathmandu.

A lot has changed since I was here before. Now there are buildings beside the road nearly all the way from the city to the hospital, it takes you slightly by surprise that you arrive at the hospital when you do. And of course there has been the earthquake. Several buildings on the hospital site have gone, been replaced or are entirely new.

In fact, when I arrived on Wednesday, hours late and more than a little dishevelled (the flight from Pokhara had been very delayed), I was ushered straight into a seat at the front of a ceremony to inaugurate the new staff quarters building with the Swiss ambassador. TLM Switzerland had supported the construction of this new building following the earthquake. Apparently the British ambassador will be here in a few weeks to open the new Guest House. I had hoped that the guest house would have been open by now as without it I am having to stay at the Training Centre which is at the very bottom of the hospital site – 365 steep uneven steps to go up and down a couple of times every day have been keeping me fit.

While the altitude, the steps and the view combine to take your breath away, it’s the hospital itself, its people and its work that is truly inspiring.

It has been great to spend a couple of days meeting patients and staff and hearing their often moving stories of the impact of leprosy in their lives and how your support for Anandaban hospital is helping them to defeat their leprosy and to have hope for the future.

Arjum has been living with disability and disfigurement because of leprosy for over 30 years. He has been back to the hospital many times over the years when he has needed help or treatment.

He told me that “without Anandaban Hospital we would all be in a much worse condition. We are getting good treatment and it is a good place to be able to stay”

I thoroughly enjoyed spending a little time with him and he finished by saying “May God bless everyone who supports Anandaban Hospital”

If you choose to support the Heal Nepal campaign at the moment, your gift to Anandaban Hospital will be doubled by the UK government.

The main reason for coming to Nepal right now is because of the Heal Nepal campaign and because UK Paralympian Stef Reid is coming, with a few of the team from The Leprosy Mission England and Wales, to visit as part of the campaign to see for herself how the work of the hospital is transforming the lives of people affected by leprosy, especially those whose leprosy has led to a serious disability.

Stef arrived in Nepal yesterday and it was great to meet her this morning before we all went to church together (they go to church on Saturday in Nepal). In the afternoon we went to Dr Indra’s house where he taught Stef (and then the rest of us) to make Momos, a special Nepali dumpling.

Over the next few days Stef will meet people affected by leprosy both here at the hospital and at other locations. I think my main job will be as a general dogsbody, taking a few notes, maybe carrying things and making sure I keep out of the shot for the videos and photos being taken to document her visit.

There will be daily videos of Stef’s visit online – they’ll be shared on our Facebook page if you want to see more of the hospital and what we’re seeing and doing.

To give a gift or request material for your church to support Heal Nepal visit healnepal.org.uk

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23rd Feb 2019

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.