The story of Antonio
Antonio suffers severe mutilation as a result of leprosy. His eye muscles got affected too. But he won’t be brought down. Today he is a volunteer and leader at the self-care group in his village.
I want to make sure that others sharing the same fate, do not have to suffer as I did
I learned quite a lot about leprosy. By sharing my knowledge, I can save others many of the troubles I have had to go through
“When I finished my treatment, I didn’t want to do anything else but help others affected by leprosy. I just wanted to protect them from the pain I have had to go through. When I got leprosy, little was known about the disease in our village. Due to my experiences, I now know quite a lot about it. By sharing my knowledge, I can save others many of the troubles I have had to go through.
As a leader at our self-care group, I teach members how they can best care for their wounds and prevent permanent damage. We are twenty-three and meet every second Thursday of the month at the premises of the local health centre.
I teach members of our self-care group how they can best care for their wounds to prevent permanent damage
In my notebook, I carefully keep track of members’ progress. Their situation improves steadily, which I am glad to witness. My work as a volunteer gives me strength. If others can benefit from my experiences it helps me too.
Me too, I greatly benefitted from the self-care methods I learned at the volunteer courses. For example, I now wrap a cloth around the handle of my hoe, which allows me to work our plot without injuring myself.
Me too, I greatly benefit from the self-care methods that I learned at the volunteer courses
To protect my eyes, I wear sunglasses. I can’t go without them. Because my eye muscles have been damaged, I can’t properly close my eyes. During the day, this creates the hazard of dust getting inside. At night, my open eyes produce light, which attracts mice. Besides this, my eyes no longer tear. I’m at high risk of becoming blind. Hopefully, I will soon qualify for eye surgery.
Despite everything I go through, I won’t be brought down. What else can I do? I accept my fate and try to make the most of it. My wife Amelia, our three daughters, and our sons-in-law are my support in times of need.
I take every opportunity I can to educate my community about leprosy
Sometimes people in the neighbourhood talk behind my back, which makes me sad. It leads me to take every opportunity I can to educate my community about leprosy. I think it is important that people start thinking positively about the disease. After all, people affected by leprosy, are people.”