Leprosy Colony in Oji River

A promise to help Leprosy patients “The biggest disease today is not HIV/AIDS, Leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted”. –Mother Theresa.

Father Nicholas has already visited the Oji River Leprosy community and has helped them with providing medical supplies food and water, supplying them with these basic needs as well as funds which are necessary for their survival.

Father Nicholas was born in a little town called Oji River in Eastern Nigeria. His father worked in a hospital. One day his father gave him a tour of the hospital and leprosy unit. There he saw men, women and children with patches and large wounds over their bodies. Some were without fingers or had legs missing and were on crutches. Many people did not go near them. He was deeply affected by what he saw. His father was not afraid of them and explained that leprosy was a highly infectious disease and that it was very hard for families and friends to relate to an infected person, especially if that person has not yet begun any treatment. Leprosy can damage the nerves which will result in loss of feeling in their hands and feet, it also causes blindness and other physical deformities. For these reasons people ostracise and abandon them. Their children are also affected and are no longer accepted at schools, churches or public places.

They are sadly no longer treated like human beings. His father promised to take him to a leprosy colony and this happened on his second visit to the General Hospital.

The leprosy colony is where the lepers go after their treatment in hospital. After his visit to the leprosy colony, he made a vow to help the lepers when he started working. His father heard his son and replied “May God grant you your heart’s desire”. He continued to visit the leprosy patients onDecember 26th each year until he left Nigeria. His father continued his tireless work to help the lepers for 40 years until he retired in 2004. Father Nicholas saw the stigmatisation, social ostracism and neuropathic manifestations impacting on all those who either have previously or are currently caring for people with leprosy