Leprosy patients in Wau had a delightful Christmas, thanks to Bangladeshi peacekeepers

Women dance at the Agoke Leprosy Centre in Wau

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27 Dec 2019

Leprosy patients in Wau had a delightful Christmas, thanks to Bangladeshi peacekeepers

Dawit Kahsay Tedla

“Being a leprosy patient, I was disowned by my own family, treated as an outcast and sent away from my village,” began Maget Viola, an inhabitant of Agoke Centre in Wau.

“We are almost forgotten – nobody sees us; we don’t receive any support from aid agencies. We are suffering a lot here, but we’ve seen the angels arrive today with Christmas gifts, food, medicine, clothing, water, note-books, pens, footballs for our children,” concluded Viola.

The items listed by Viola were part of goodies distributed by the Bangladeshi peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to her and her peers at the Agoke Leprosy Centre, located just outside Wau town. 

“Spending Christmas holidays without family makes you sad. But today, thanks to UNMISS Bangladeshi peacekeepers for organizing this Christmas celebration where I have had the best time at the Christmas party and received gifts,” said an excited Viola. “We are feeling very Christmassy now and it is like celebrating with family,” she added, as she expressed her joy by singing and dancing.

Christmas’ Lady Luck smiled upon John Majok, too – a 10-year-old boy who has been suffering from splitting headaches, and coughing for a long time. No medical care had come his way, and so his condition was not getting better. But on Christmas Eve, he was examined by Bangladeshi doctors and received the full course of medication he needed at no cost.

“This is, really, a memorable moment for the people and for me,” said Ms. Christina Gabriel Ali, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare in Wau. “We are waiting for sustainable peace so we can support the people,” she said as she expressed her deep satisfaction and gratitude to the Bangladeshi peacekeepers for their assistance, and for creating a joyful moment for the most vulnerable on the eve of Christmas.

 “Today is the best day for me since my arrival in South Sudan, and for my team to arrange this humanitarian assistance from our personal belongings for these distressed people instead of our limitations,” said Colonel Sayed Motaher Hossain, the Bangladeshi contingent commander in Wau.

“Those vulnerable members of the community are not able to celebrate as they would like to because they are battling a medical condition. I am very contented to see the cheerful faces of these hitherto hopeless people here,” concluded Col. Hossain, as he called on everyone to share love with the patients.