Our big Marana family (Fathers, Sisters, nursing staff, employees and leprosarium patients) send You the best wishes on the occasion of the New Year 2021!
PEACE AND HOPE FOR EVERYBODY
The year 2020 is coming to an end. I hope that in spite of events that took place in the world and in our families in 2020, despite the difficulties we endured during the year, we did not lose our positive frame of mind and hope for the better future.
God was with us this year as well. We were protected by His grace. Praise and glory to God! Always and forever! Thank You, Lord!
However, a lot of us lost somebody close this year: a wife, a husband, parents or children, friends or colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances. We unite with everybody, who is suffering, is either in grief or sadness, in our thoughts, in our prayers and offer our sincere condolences. We wish to comfort and cheer everybody up. God is with us.
Some people among us passed away. Nevertheless, we continue their work. May those who left us rest in peace. And we thank God for His protection and care for us during the pandemic.
WHAT IS THE NEWS…
You may be interested, how we are doing and whether we receive your aid. Well, some packages and money orders have already arrived. Thanks to the seeds that You sent us, we got the abundance of crops in our Marana garden.
Now, I’d like to share the news about our Marana community. The team members somewhat changed. We were joined by Sister Berthine. She will replace our treasurer, Sister Paulette. Sister Delphine will be sent on a mission to Mozambique. Sister Veronique left Marana to get professional education. She will start her nursery studies 1000 km from home (Marana). Father Michel, who is 91 years old, is with us. He is actively, although discretely, still interested in the life of our mission. Together with the current Marana Chaplain, Father Józef Pawłowski SJ, he regularly concelebrates the Holy Mass. Sister Alida, the novice, has arrived for the 6 month internship. Sister Carine, who had completed post-graduate studies in Marana, after being on a mission in Ambatofotsy for a year, returned to our Marana community.
The first quarter of the year passed filled with initiative and joyful activities for out leper patients of Marana.
MEDICAL CARE AND AID
A doctor from Italy, who came to Marana in January to increase his knowledge of leprosy, suggested helping our hospital twice a week in the morning. Together with the Italian team LA VITA PER TE from Fianarantsoa, he carried on diagnostic testing for breast and cervical cancer. He also tested leprosarium adult patients and adults from the nearby villages for hepatitis B virus.
Luckily, there were only 4 cases of the illness in the first quarter of the year.
And then, unexpectedly, the corona virus pandemic broke out. Everybody was shocked. We could not allow ourselves get frustrated. We hoped that we could successfully fight the enemy, despite the losses we suffered. We have friends that will never let us down. We can count on You. And the most important, we have the guardian in heaven, Blessed Father Jan Beyzym SJ, who intercedes on behalf of us at God’s Throne. God’s grace and help are crucial for us. Besides, we have You, our friends, who will never leave us on our own.
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS TIME
All the inhabitants of the Red Island were informed or they themselves understood the pandemic size. The lack of the applications to the leprosarium was the best proof of the situation understanding. Since the beginning of the lockdown, i.e. 21 of March 2020, no patients were admitted to the hospital. All the roads were blocked. The citizens were informed about the current situation, consequences, actions taken and restrictions adopted in order to avoid the virus spreading. We did not have the sufficient amount of the necessary resources to fight the pandemic. The same could be said about the amount of tests. Only those, who had the serious symptoms of infection, could have the corona virus test done.
In Marana we complied with all the government restrictions that had been in place since March 21. The situation at the leprosarium had been completely calm and peaceful for seven month until our children went to school. Then, one girl got ill. Her test was positive. The girl was taken to the specialized hospital. Six other patients, who were suspected of being infected as well, were isolated and quarantined. Those isolated were carefully monitored. It was difficult for them and for the Marana personnel too. But, thank God, we lived through all the difficulties. Everybody now is doing fine.
A FIELD EXPEDITION
During the period of lockdown we were visited by the representatives of non government organizations and societies. They donated masks, soap, medication and provided free advice and consultations with regard to the corona virus treatment. Together with us, they also organized the field expedition (about 90 km from Fianarantsoa) to detect the cases of leprosy on the initial stage [dépistage]. It is crucial to treat the disease on the initial stage, i.e. before it causes incurable damage on the body of a patient.
Only in early December, during our second expedition to the south of Fianarantsoa, we detected three new cases of leprosy. The sick were immediately transported to Marana leprosarium. Two people applied to the hospital themselves. To sum up, there were only eight cases of disease detected in 2020. We could not organize our expeditions as often as we usually did not only because of the corona virus, but also because there was no train since the beginning of the year. [One of the four railroads in Madagascar, from Fianarantsoa to Manakara on the east coast; ref.: editor].
S. Sabine Ramasinoro SCJ