Leprosy still exists in Vietnam. Despite the efforts of the World Health Organization and the government of Vietnam there is still an instance of 1 case per 10,000 people a year. In a country of 80,000,000 this is 8000 cases!
Although the stigma is lifting, many people suffering from leprosy still live in isolated villages. They are unable to integrate because of the stigma and because of their physical limitations they are unable to earn a living.
On our two tours with Tours of Peace we have visited two separate villages where the inhabitants are sufferers of leprosy or are family members of those with leprosy. We delivered precious bandages, food and a small amount of money for each resident.
Please check the link to the right for Touching Others, which tells the story of our visits and of the wonderful "bandage brigade"...women from all over the United States and Canada, who are hand knitting the bandages which are so treasured by the victims of this debilitating disease.
The man pictured, above left, was the "spokesperson" on our last trip. His welcoming speech was heartfelt and moving. He delivered it, unabashedly, with tears in his eyes. Despite the loss of his fingers, he was gracious and buoyant.
Bruce and I will be carrying as many bandages as our suitcases will carry so that they will reach those in need.