The leprosarium has been functioning for 110 years. It functions thanks to the donations (mostly from Poland). Leprosarium is not the government financed institution. Father Beyzym SJ, the founder of Marana, as well as his successors always struggled with different problems. Our patients need special care. It is not enough to provide them with food and a place to stay. Just as a long time ago, nowadays we also need medicine, bandages, food and working hands. Our great problem is water. We feel water shortage really badly, especially in dry season, when there is not a drop of water for some months. One could only dream then about taking a shower or making laundry, or having a cup of tea or coffee. During the most severe periods we have to buy the bottled water to drink.
It is very difficult to imagine the normal functioning of the leprosarium and the leper village without the sufficient amount o water. First of all, it goes about the personal hygiene of our patients and provision of the proper sanitary conditions in the leprosarium. It is difficult to talk about the hygiene, when sometimes one has no water to wash the hands. Everyday I see how difficult it is for the patients to live and for the sisters to keep the leprosarium clean. If you do not keep the proper order in the institution, the consequences could be deplorable. The cockroaches, other pests and bugs breed very quickly. I by myself had to do disinfection and deratization in the building many a time, as there was invasion of the cockroaches and the rats.
We also need water for our leprosarium kitchen garden. It does not go about flowers! We need vegetables for our patients. Nothing will grow without watering.
OUR CALL FOR HELP
Our patients beg for the well construction for a long time. They cannot dig the well themselves as the water sources are very deep. And they cannot dig it because of their disability. They are not capable to do any work. They can only pray, which they do daily. They pray for the rain, for the well, but before all, they pray for the good-hearted people, who could support us financially in our important enterprise.
If one never experienced the lack of water, one would not understand that problem. Here, in Marana, we feel it harshly. We save every water drop.
There is water supply system in Marana. The pipeline was built by Father Beyzym. There is water in the taps, but not in sufficient amount. Marana is located in the mountains. The mountain water sources also dry out sometimes, especially during the dry season. The only solution to the problem is to build a tube well. This is our dream. To make our dream come true is not easy, as the tube well is very expensive and we are as poor as a church mouse. The money we have is enough to satisfy the leprosarium basic needs.
THE REQUEST TO GRANT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Still, we made the project and found the executor. A special company arrived from our capital in November. They brought the necessary equipment with them and bore a hole. What a joy! It was like a water jet! Our patients were as excited as small children. But, that was all for the time being. Now we need all the necessary equipment to be installed for the water to flow to Marana. The equipment is very expensive and we can not afford it. The company (it is probably the only company in Madagascar that provides such kind of service) placed the high value on their job. The simple fact that it is the company from the capital makes an addition to the cost of the service too. Moreover, they have modern equipment that bores a hole and cleans the rubble after the drill. This kind of work needs to be paid for as well.
Lately we pray not only for the rain, but for the sponsor, who will help financially to build the well. Everyday during the Mass and the afternoon Rosary prayer we thank God for our benefactors and ask for the blessing for them. We also pray for our benefactors to be always in a big number.
Madagascar summer begins. It is very hot and dry. Looking at our “stewed in their own juices” patients, I feel exactly the same. I can only imagine how they suffer without the possibility to wash themselves properly. Their covered with wounds bodies badly need everyday bath. During the Father’s times when there was a lack of water in the leprosarium, it was fetched from the river. The river runs in the valley and to fetch the bucket of water one need to climb the steep slope. The patients are not strong enough to do that. Besides, there is not enough water in the river too. Even if there is, it is not potable water, though.
We have plans, we have the project ready and the well… So, what is next? ... We must hope for the support of good-hearted people. We sincerely hope that such people will be found and they will help us to finish our project.
WE BELIEVE THAT OUR HOLY MOTHER WILL NOT FORGET ABOUT US
Our Holy Mother was always the most important in Marana. She took care of everything and She never let the patients down. Today we entrust all our concerns to Our Lady of Jasna Gora. We believe She will not let us down. The sponsors will be found and there will be no shortage of water in Marana. As Marana Chaplain I ask everybody, who are not indifferent to the destiny of sick, suffering outcasts, to help. Every penny matters. We could do a lot having them dropped into our money-box to ease the suffering of out patients.
Father Jozef Pawlowski SJ,