Helping Hen: Changing One Life At a Time
I am not sure if I made the right decision but my intention was not to make her feel disrespected. We have been doing regular health camps since the establishment of the health care center in my village. Last year, we had one solely dedicated to Women’s Health.
That is where I heard about Shanti Didi for the first time. She was in her late 30s presented to the camp severely anemic with bleeding uterine prolapse. She had multiple marriages, a disabled husband, and very dire socioeconomic condition. She never had resources and time to take care of herself.
With the help from donors from the US, we were able to pay for her surgery and other logistics like travel costs, bed sheets, quilt, daily meals. We also assigned a dedicated person to look after her during the hospital stay and ensured she had enough food for an extended time at home after the surgery. She had an uneventful recovery and the picture attached shows the difference.
Fast forward one year, during my recent trip to Nepal, I got an opportunity to meet her in person. She came to the ENT health camp at the same community health center. As I was helping other patients, a fellow volunteer from the village pulled me aside to meet someone. I immediately recognized her and shared greetings but I could also sense some unease in her face.
I was told she had brought me some present and was worried if it would offend me. It was not a conventional gift for sure. I have received vegetables, fruits, and ghee as gifts before from patients while I was practicing in Nepal but this eclipsed everything. She had a live hen inside a bag which she raised just for me. I didn’t know what to say and how to react for a moment. I won’t lie, I had to control my emotions. So many things ran through my mind, and I decided to accept her gift as a blessing. The next day, I had the best chicken rice lunch as per her wishes and shared with my loved ones as well.
I do not know if I will ever face such a dilemma again, but I chose what I chose. I am hoping God will forgive me for any mistake because I know if I had not accepted the gift, it would have hurt her feelings. I thought making her smile is worth more than anything. As always, as a human I can ask for forgiveness from God anytime.
-(Dr Santosh Sapkota, currently in the US working at Maricopa Integrated Health System. He is also the President of America Nepal Medical Foundation. He has helped built above Community Health Center and regularly organizing health camps at his birthplace in Tarkang, Madi Gaun Palika Kaski.)