Artherapy in India.

With the help of the god.

Jeevodaya is one of the many leprosy center catholic missions, which is far about ten kilometers from Raipur, an important town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The centre was set up by a Polish doctor and priest, who tried promote the idea of living together with permanently ill patients in the congregation. The women, men and children lived separately in different houses, and their work depended on their health condition. The patients did gardening, sewing, house cleaning and cooking.

Unfortunately, life in congregation does not harmonize with the Indian tradition of family and ordinary life. The teachers, the students and the ill people were leaving the Catholic mission, and Jeevodaya became a lonely place. Neither Indian offices nor the western civilizations were interested in it. However, with the help of gifts, the mission carried on its economic life, and the gifts were immediately divided among the patients. At the time the Director, a doctor of medicine, was Helena Pyz, who was a powerful personality with a catholic background. But her medical work was really very important . She showed me the records of the patients ill with leprosy and tuberculosis, where I read that about two hundred asked her for the help every day.. The ill people came mostly by bikes to her unit in Jeevodaya. The women were dressed in the sari and they were sitting on the frame of the bike, and their men with, one hand were driving the bike and with the second hand holding an umbrella above the head off the woman. I could not tell that doctor Pyz made the decision of the financial background right, but I was shocked by the deteriorated and dirty place for small three years old children without basic hygienic. Among the small children was a one year old girl Mamta. Her mother died when she was breast feeding her. After her death Mamta was seriously ill and very white. The others Indian women carefully took care of her. Doctor Pyz was very happy with the progress of Mamta'

s health. With good food, beans, rice, sugar, eggs, soya flour, Swiss milk, she became better and her flesh was suddenly an Indian brown.
The children of the coloured jungle.

I had visited the Jeevoday during monsoon rains The temperature was about 38 C. The rice fields were trembling in the light blue, the horizons were in shades of deep green. The coloured birds were flying around the mission school where I taught children. All around us were the palms and enormous crabs. The trees were decorated with the nests of small birds. They were singing with beautiful soprano The carmine ibis flowers were very quickly in blossom and very soon were dying. The children were painting watercolour pictures of these beautiful flowers, the ibis, the crabs, bulls, the cows, the faces of famous Indian actresses. They decorated their hair, faces and the flesh. Their dresses which were designed by a young handicapped taylor in a wheelchair, who sewed cloths without design, and cut the textile fabric straight. I visited him very often during break in my classes and I admired his talent as a tailor as he listened the Hindu music, which he liked so much. I do not know if he was paid or if he was living in the houses for men in the congregation and lived with the presents of the mission. The children were playing with the crabs during breaks in their classes and when I returned to the classroom, I very often found crabs hidden under my papers. My fear of these animals was great fun for the Indian students. In the mission there were about ten bikes, but nobody used them. Doctor Pyz advised me to do biking with the guards. This was reasonable, as I recognized later. Once, in front of the group saint cows I lost my balance and fell down on the earth. After that I lost the courage to do biking in the local rough roads..

In the kitchen the women made the food for the whole mission and for the people in the villages, approximately for 260 people. Generally the menu consisted of rice, eggs, milk, fish, tropical fruit, mango, oranges, bananas, and strongly spicy soup made from Indian vegetables. The food was the partly diet for the patients and partly healing. Apart from their illness, the women, men, and children were walking with the grace of children of the jungle. The children were drawing in the unique Indian style, characteristic of this very old culture.

Forgotten voices.

In Jeevodaya I met a beautiful child . He had no name, and so I called him Michael. Nobody knew his age. Doctor Pyz and I thought that he could be four or five years old.. He was in the mission with his brother, I called him John. John was older than his brother and Michael did not like to respect him. From time to time Michael overstepped all the rules of Indian tradition, and rushed his elder brother around the fountain in the atrium court with small flowers, mixed with weed. I was happy that this lost Indian prince with beautiful black big eyes, was brave and know to fight. Michael very often came to see me to the class and. He was drawing, modeling with clay. With his brother he painted the most beautiful chains of flowers. With Michael I spent the time in silence, the most beautiful moments of my life in the leprosy center. After seven o'clock in the evening. When all the children were in the church, the small "Indian prince" came to me and looked at the beautiful sky with the stars and big moon lighting to a night full of Parisian blue. Our happiness was disturbed by Doctor Pyz who recognized we were missing in the evening songs. So she pulled poor Michaela into the church But even in the church there was a beautiful atmosphere and our children

were singing with the high clear voices which were spread over the church and the whole

Jeevodayu was covered with the voices of forgotten people.

During my departure from the leprosy center I saw only the eyes of Michael, who stayed

in the mission. I will never forget him and his fight with his illness. What was his next life after I left him and the mission. What was his life after my departure?


Libuse Mikova






Tel:01727 864257


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