The Day I Met Her

Perhaps that was the scenario when the lepers were asking Jesus to heal them. They must have been in pain, crying for help like her. And perhaps the only free medication for them is to turn to Jesus with faith.

The Day I Met Her

Monaliza Esteban
by Monaliza Esteban

Mona, as she is fondly called, is a Filipina Columban lay missionary assigned in Fiji.

It was one fine Friday morning on the 21st of August when a young Hindu couple arrived at the parish’s TB clinic with their tiny baby. When their turn came to meet the doctor, I was curious to see the baby’s situation so I went inside the doctor’s room. I had never seen such a disease as that. Her body, including her head, was covered with a skin infection. The cloth that was used to wrap her was even stuck to her bottom. Her eyes were affected as well. I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for a baby like her having all the pain inside and outside. She was crying the whole time the doctor examined her. As I gazed on her parents’ worried eyes, I felt more compassion to this God’s little gift to them. I assumed she is their first child. At the end of the day I still couldn’t stop thinking about that child. 

Perhaps that was the scenario when the lepers were asking Jesus to heal them. They must have been in pain, crying for help like her. And perhaps the only free medication for them was to turn to Jesus in faith.  

She was admitted that day because the doctor discovered that she had a pulmonary problem. The parents were also told to bring their baby to the clinic every other Friday for medication apart from her skin problem. And so our journey began. 

I started to be a friend to her and the mother after that first meeting. They belong to a tribal group whose language I do not speak or understand, but with few words I was able to build rapport with them. On the second Friday there was an improvement in our little patient, who also started to become a little bit friendly. I offered her toffee but she was still quite shy to take it from my hand. I continued to inquire about her situation, concerned if she was getting any better with the prescribed medicine. The mother showed me her daughter’s body where the soft baby skin was returning to normal. As they continued to come for her medication, I saw the changes on her skin. Every time they came, her skin got better and better. Like the leper’s faith I also believe that this tiny baby fought with her strong faith and will to recover from that disease. 

Sometimes it is hard to judge and say the kind of society we have. Sometimes, I also wonder about this group of people who are deprived from health privileges not because they cannot work in order to provide good health for their children or for themselves, but because of the kind of society they are in. This experience has challenged me again and again to be more compassionate with the little ones - the destitute in the society whoever they are. I am just thankful that we have generous people around who continue to help those in the margins.

Now, I am very happy to see this little one on her fifth Friday fully recovered from her skin problem. I continue to pray that, in due time, she will also recover from her other ailment. I will always remember the day I met her, the day I met Gangga.

Monaliza Esteban 1