Last week we were providing relief to a group of Karen people in their hiding place. These people had fled their homes when the Burma Army attacked and were living in lean-tos and make shift shelters in the jungle. We had been in this area since early January and had just about exhausted our medical and other relief supplies. The medics were able to treat most of the cases we saw and the two cases that we could not treat we were able to evacuate.
It was just getting dark when a man came up to me carrying an old woman. This is my Grandmother, he said, She is 97 years old and has been blind for four years, can you help her?
I said a quick silent prayer, and thought that probably the only help we could give was love and some vitamins. Her grandson set her gently down in front of me, as all the medics were busy. She squatted down with her thin arms dangling down beside her legs. She began to shake. I asked her if she was cold and she said yes. I got a Good Life Club jacket that Partners had donated and put it on her. She smiled broadly and said repeatedly, Thank you, thank you. Her eyes were squeezed tight and with the help of her grandson we opened them for examination. Her eyes were small, misshapen and looked partially dissolved. They did not look much like eyes anymore. I asked the medics their opinion and they said, She has been blind a long time, is very old and so there is no way to fix those now. I told her we could not help her eyes and I got some vitamins from the medics and gave them to her grandson with instructions.
And then I prayed for her. That was it; no healing and no treatment for her eyes. The grandson then smiled and as he started to pick her up, he thanked us again.
She held out her arms and grabbed him tightly from behind, drawing her legs up so that he could carry her on his back. She looked secure there and laid her head against his shoulder.
As they walked away I almost began to cry. There she was, all folded up on her grandsons back, with her new GLC jacket with the smiley face logo shining. Off they went to their hiding place with no healing, no promise of security and no certain future.
But for the moment she seemed content and was warm and I thought, This is as good as it gets. We want to help everyone, we want to be part of real change in Burma, but in reality sometimes we cannot do very much. But the little we each can do is sometimes as good as it gets here.
We thank you all and all the individuals and organizations that are working together to make positive change for Burma. We thank God that in this life of triumphs and tragedy of contentment and distress there are good things that happen and with love, there is always a way.
God bless you,
A relief team leader