When Mandla Dlamini finished hoeing his field, he noticed blisters on his hand. He was surprised, because his hand felt fine.
Up with the sun the next morning, Mandla was soon at work. He’d forgotten about the sores, but at supper he noticed a worsening of the blisters. His hands looked bad, but he felt no pain.
The hoeing season kept Mandla busy for the next few weeks. During a visit to town he asked for help at the clinic for his badly injured hands.
“You’ve got leprosy,” said the doctor.
Mandla was bewildered. “What is leprosy?”
The doctor sent Lucky Kunene, one of the Leprosy Mission’s dedicated supervisors, to visit Mandla.
“Leprosy stops you from feeling pain. These tablets will cure you. They’re free!”
“Let me show you how to look after your hands. The feeling won’t come back in your fingers. You need to take care when hoeing. Put a cloth around the handle of the hoe. Allow your hand to rest. Be careful when you drink tea. The hot cup will burn your fingers.”
Globally, millions of people have lost their sight or limbs due to leprosy. About a hundred South Africans get leprosy each year and thousands have had leprosy and now, unable to feel pain, are at risk of hand, foot and eye injuries.
This suffering is needless. Leprosy is curable and treatment is free.
People like the Leprosy Mission’s Lucky Kunene are rushing to the aid of leprosy patients to make sure they get treatment and learn to avoid injuries.
The Leprosy Mission is a Christian mission which strives to loose the chains of injustice, empowering people marginalised by leprosy and disability to attain dignity, healing and life in all its fullness, whilst working to eradicate leprosy.