I spent this weekend at a small medical clinic in Southern India that caters to the "Untouchables". Of India's billion people, over 150 million are considered sub-human and are denied basic health care and services. This hospital, while open to everyone, has a specific focus on serving those who have nowhere else to go. The stories of the people I met were equal parts tragedy and triumph. One woman wept openly as she explained that she found out she was HIV positive only after her husband died of AIDS. Because of the stigma of HIV, her family kicked her and her children out of their home and took away all of their possessions. With no family or government support she decided was suicide her only real option.
Remarkably, the staff at this little rural medical clinic found her, took her in, and provided both medical and emotional support for her. Today her HIV is being controlled by diet, medication, and a supportive network of caregivers. Now she works at the clinic and is a unique and powerful blessing to the many chronically ill patients.
This was one of the many stories from this weekend that made me want to both cry and shout for joy.