From Brian Smith, Executive Director of HAND
Raj Kumar Read-Nepa is a long-time friend in Nepal since 2008. He is one of my oldest friends in Nepal. Raj came down with leprosy at age 5. He was not cured until he was 16, but heavy damage was done. Since I met Raj, his kidneys have failed, he has had both legs amputated above the knee, and he has lost his wife Nirmaya. Now his heart is failing, and only operating at about 35%.
For the past month, Raj has been hospitalized. Last night, I was able to get him home. Without anyone to care for him, I am currently staying with him to be his "nurse" until we leave on our next mission. His children Abhishek and Marie are back in school. Marie is working on her +2 final exams.
Last night his wheel chair had a flat tire. I set off on an evening adventure to get it repaired. After trying several shops along the crazy street, I was at a loss as to what to do. Three boys age 7, 11, and 12 saw my dilemma and with limited English, we set off to find a place that could put in a new tube. They ran down the street pushing each other in the wheel chair saying "lets go!"
While waiting for it to be repaired, I could see that the boys were hungry, so I filled them up on momo's, washed down with cold Mountain Dew. We topped it off with an ice cream each. They inhaled their food, so they were hungry.
Just before Abhishek left for school, he and I set off on a mission to find some momo's for Raj, because he was really hungry. This is good because he has hardly eaten for the past month and lost a ton of weight. It was also my first time riding the chaotic streets of Kathmandu on a scooter, with Abhishek on the back. As I dodged cows, bicycles, motorcycles, busses, cars and trucks, I had to force myself to stay on the left side of the road, they drive British style here. More than 1000 children are killed each year in the streets of Kathmandu. I can see why, and was glad to make it back to the house, still intact.
This morning Raj is feeling a little better, but he didn't sleep well last night. He is still running a mild temperature of 100F, but with a serious peritoneal infection, that is expected. We have him doing dialysis 4 times per day and he is on a strong antibiotic. I am hoping and praying that my friend pulls through on this one.