Greetings! This is Klorisa Porter the current Medical Volunteer Coordinator for Rising Star Outreach of India. It is nothing short of a privilege to work with the individuals that have been affected by leprosy. Between the twelve colonies Rising star is currently working with, everyday promises a new adventure. The colonies have a way of testing and stretching you. The ulcers and deformities we as a medical unit come across from these beautiful people are heart braking. The social economical conditions alone make you question your current standard of living and what truly makes people happy. Though it can be overwhelming and challenging at times, it only makes loving the patients that much easier and rewarding. Many of the patients walk in, smiling, pinching your cheeks, frequently laughing, dancing, singing, repeating “nandri” ( or thank you) and pointing to the heavens. Communication is limited in words but fortunately you will find you don’t need them.
We had the opportunity to visit Chettipunyam a few days ago. There’s always certain individuals in each colony that tend to be little more out going and daring, Maria wouldn’t fall short of that description. This little lady, 68 years young, walks in with her sun glasses and little nylon bag swinging at her wrist announcing herself with a dramatic push through the door. She’s always smiling and excited to see who ever you are. In the past our dear Maria worked as an agricultural laborer. She was diagnosed with leprosy at age ten and learned to cope with it with the support of her father who shared the diagnosis. At age 13 Maria was married and soon followed five children. Two of her grandchildren currently attend Rising Star Outreach’s Peer Matriculation School and she couldn’t be prouder.
— Klorisa Porter