One of the greatest tragedies against humanity is the feeling of being neglected and rejected by everyone. No wonder St. Theresa of Calcultta said “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty….”
The lepers, unarguably fall under this category. The word leper was historically used to refer to someone who suffered from leprosy, a bacteria that affects the nerves skin and respiratory tract. Because leprosy was thought to be highly contagious, the word leper came to be used generally as an ” outcast”
Welcome to the home of the Outcasts, it is located at Kampani community, a suburb of Minna, Niger State, Nigeria.
The Leprosy Home is one of the oldest in Nigeria as it dates back colonial era. It has a hospital for those affected as well as homes for those treated. It’s divided into two, the male and the female wards.
One of the major challenges facing this community of lepers is lack of food, drugs for patients as well as good lavatories and bathrooms.
It was the death of two elderly persons who had gone to ease themselves and eventually fell into the river behind the home and died that actually informed the building of a standard lavatory and bathroom by a faith-based group known for its service to the poor and the elderly, Community of Sant Egidio.
There is also a school for children of the lepers. They are disconnected from the rest of us because of their illness. No one goes to them for fear of being affected and this gives them concern. They live in a world of their own right inside a forest.
It is in the light of this show of neglect and abandonment that Community of Sant Egidio developed a friendship with these people a couple of years ago and this single act has further given these lepers reasons to keep hope alive despite the challenges they are going through. Interestingly the friendship has further restored their self-esteem.
Speaking with NAIJA CENTER NEWS correspondent at the Home, one of the patients, Muhammad Abubakar, 61, said he has been in the home for three years and it’s been a challenging experience.
According to Abubakar, it hurts so bad to be neglected by everyone including family members as he is been avoided like a plague.
He told NAIJA CENTER NEWS that the major challenge is food and drugs. According to him, the government is not living up to its responsibility of meeting their needs at the home.
In all, love conquers all things. If God who created them didn’t reject them, who are we to reject them and even tag them outcasts?. As far as am concerned there is absolutely no difference between the lepers and the rest of us.