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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Friday, December 20, 2013

{Like Princess Diana, I also Tried to Tackle the Leprosy Stigma}

So many people have told us that they envied us for all our travels. Well, let me share with you our trip # 3 to Indonesia for Consulting. That's right - NOT vacation!
It was the exact same day that Princess Diana was staying in Jakarta, she did visit the Sitanala Leprosy hospital to shake hands with those patients in order to tackle the stigma.
1989, November 04, Princess Diana at the Sitanala Leprosy Hospital Indonesia—below you will see link to short video.
We flew on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, from Treviso, Italy where we were living at the time, via Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Dehli, India and on to Singapore for one last stop before reaching Jakarta, Indonesia.
By 18:00 o'clock we sat in our taxi on our way to the hotel and we departed Jakarta on the 7th of November, 1989 to the center of Java where we actually worked.
We had no idea that we were spending those two nights in Jakarta while Princess Diana was there at the same time.
Below you see me, at the very same Leprosy hospital where Diana visited, only several years later...
This is on November 16, 1997 and trip # 19 to Indonesia for work.
From Atlanta, USA to Amsterdam, The Netherlands where we had a layover of 12 hours.
We killed that time by making phone calls with my Parents. Called my youngest sister Gerd and obtained from her the telephone number of the hospital where my sister Diny just had had surgery on her shoulder. Calling with Pieter's brothers and on to Singapore, non-stop in some 13 hours.
One hour layover and the last 1-½ hour to Jakarta, Indonesia. Two nights on the plane...
You bet that once we arrived at the hotel by 19:00 o'clock we only needed some fruit, a good shower before finally hitting the mattress.
Next day around noon we went to the Jakarta leprosy hospital and to the compound where about 800 leprosy families were living. We knew a German Jesuit, Siegfried Binzler, with whom we worked for handing him the money we collected from our local Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Savannah West and friends. I say 'our' even though I myself have never been a member but for decades I've always supported husband Pieter with these international projects. Pieter has been a Rotarian since May 11, 1976.
We did hand Father Binzler US $ 9,030 on November 16, 1997 and he was quite surprised.
This was on June 3, 1997 when we did hand over the very first US $ 1,000 in cash to the administrator of the Leprosy compound, an ex leprosy patient himself. Look at his hands... He was lucky that they saved his fingers and hands by surgery. Splitting the tendons in two for functioning in another finger, with lots of therapy over the duration of several years. Most people don't have the money for it so they just have no choice other than to amputate...
Here the ex-leprosy administrator is signing the receipt for the US $ 1,000 for us to carry back home to our Rotary Club. Mission accomplished...
100% being used for the cause!
Now back to November 16, 1997...
This poor soul has one leg amputated and the other foot is severely infected, and also both her hands... Just imagine having to live like that!
We never complained about jet-lag after sitting two nights in a row on the plane; that is pure luxury compared to the life of all people with leprosy!
We did this always the next day after arrival, to get the money and other goods to safety first. Then we would travel on to our work area.
Talking about luxury, me happily wearing the Majorica crema rosa pearls, that Pieter gifted me at the Amsterdam tax free shop...
It really hurts when you see a girl covering her face (that too was affected!) so I signaled to Pieter that he had to put the camera away... But we HAD to bring home material in order to raise more awareness for the need of money to support the poorest of the poor for giving them a prosthesis.
This girl had had surgery on her leg.
Speaking their language, I engaged in conversation in order to distract them from the camera.
Husband Pieter had to zoom in as you absolutely cannot hang with your camera above their misery. 
This hurts like hell and when you return to the hotel, with a mega headache you need time for getting all that misery out of your system. And yet, you want to SCREAM at the world for awareness. These poor souls become OUTCAST of society due to the stigma around leprosy. Also their family becomes outcast. But behind the hospital there are only a few square kilometers where already at that time about 800 families lived... and how can they make a living?! 
Do you recognize the exact same beds and room? Mind you, there is NO air conditioning and only the bare minimum as you can see.
Diana Princess of Wales was Patron of The Leprosy Mission England and Wales... ←click link. Princess Diana made huge strides in tackling the stigma surrounding leprosy by touching those affected by the disease. She brought the plight of leprosy affected people to the world's attention and dispelled one of the myths surrounding it – that it can be passed by touch – by visiting hospitals and touching patients.
Below post you can also see a video from Princess Diana's Leprosy hospital visit in Jakarta, Indonesia... 
Back again on New Year's Eve of 1998.
That's right; December 31, 1998.
This girl lie there moaning, just out of surgery on her hands... Look at that foot.
A beautiful teenager and so mutilated for life!
Worse; being OUTCAST for life...
This woman received a new prosthesis from our Rotary Club.
In 1989 she received one through Princess Diana's visit and it was worn out.
We did deliver US $ 8,500 this time and $ 1,100 from other friends.
We also had started to collect those toiletry bags from KLM which we received aboard our flight when we got an upgrade into business class when economy was sold out. We saved them up and brought them all with us to hand out to these poor souls.
BUT, how you want to dissolve after having handed out the LAST one...
You would need a truck load for actually giving something to all!
Yet, they always smiled and were so happy and when I asked them they were quick to reply: 'We believe in a better life after this!'
Those leprosy patients taught us so much. 
They really understood to give back so much with their gratitude.
Sorry for the poor quality scans, this is not from an actual slide as I have yet to find it.
This is Sanah, she had her leg amputated and was told the other foot had to go and also her hands.
That is when we stepped in for saving her hands at least through surgery and tedious therapy and more surgery by splitting the tendons.
Speaking the language has proven to be very beneficial.
Who would have thought that I would be in the country of my Great-Uncle 'Heeroom'; guess he has guided me from heaven, many times! See post about him below...
 What can you do?
What to say... there is so much suffering and it looks like the entire world is looking the other way... ostrich politics. When you don't want to see it; it is not there.
These poor souls have no voice and their disease is not political correct for receiving aid; like for HIV. 
This New Year's Eve of 1998 was quite shocking for us.
There were still military on the leprosy compound for protection.
Also near our hotel were military patrolling and they had their tents set up.
To me that Thursday trip looked closest to a war zone that I ever saw. Of course, husband Pieter lived through WWII but the video tape we took from some 6,000 burned and vandalized banks, shops, car dealers (mostly Chinese Christians) made quite an impression. The riots from May and November totaled 1,200 deaths.
We did go shopping, for my niece Maartje I got 2 dresses and we were in bed by 21:00 o'clock after a little bite - WORN OUT! That was our non-glamorous New Year's Eve for 1998...
Saturday, November 20, 1999 with German Jesuit Siegfried Binzler.
Back again for delivering some Cashier checks and US $ 13,120 this time. Our local Rotary Club has supported the Leprosy victims in Jakarta for years. Photo shows US time, hence the different date as Indonesia is 12 hours ahead.
You bet that I felt so relieved each time for arriving safe with all that cash in my purse... quite a responsibility.
Again, making the rounds in the Leprosy hospital as so many times before...
Aside from cash money we always did carry as many clothes and things we could take with us. 
Our allowance with the Royal Wing Card from KLM was like that for business class and we did carry each 2 heavy suitcases (at that time 32 kg each was allowed!) + heavy carry on + totes etc. 
We never did shun the load as it brought so much joy to so many. Here are lots of clothes we received from a Jewish friend. for taking with us; some were new and all in a small size, so the Leprosy male could wear them. 
Most US sizes nowadays would be way too large.
We no longer went to Indonesia after 2001, our trip # 21 but the Dublin Rotary Club has continued for many years to send funds, now using our liaison John H. G. Soe from Rotary Club Jakarta Sentral. 
Photos posted on Flickr ←click link our combined Leprosy Project for which we earned a Matching Grant from Rotary International in 2010, you can see when clicking on the hyperlink. Many wheel chairs and prosthesis could be provided in order to make life more bearable for those poor souls.

All those years of involvement in charity for the poorest of the poor, did change us quite a bit.
We cannot participate in the hype for shopping and more shopping around Christmas. 
It is a harsh world with too stark contrasts and most people never even stop for a moment from their ongoing rush to more, bigger, better—their Credo for the twenty–first century.
There is more in life and being content and trying to share and reach out provides us with real happiness.
We always have shared and given to others freely. Since we do live off one pension with three adults; Pieter's ex and both of us, we no longer can afford to generously gift relatives the way we used to. 

What we learned from it is that they became kind of dependent on it and more or less expected us to bring each time special gifts for them. They smiled but did it foster gratitude? 
I doubt it, as we seldom hear from any of them. They are all so involved in their own little world of racing with all others through the never-ending WANT...
May you all have a blessed Christmas in the true meaning and may you find Peace!

Related links:
{March 14, Written Life Message for me by my Favorite Great-Uncle} | previous post by me about my Great-Uncle (Heeroom) who spend 30 years in Indonesia
{Winter Sale | At the time we were Millionaires} | previous post by me when I bought those 2 dresses for niece Maartje on New Year's Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia + Versace jeans on January 1st
{World Polio Day - Nobody's child everybody's man - Jakarta Post} | previous post about John H.G. Soe our liason from Rotary Club Jakarta Sentral
{3 Hibiscus Varieties 'KONA' - 'CONFEDERATE ROSE' and a RED variegated} | previous post about our stay at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty Six, Fort Lauderdale, FL at the time of Diana's funeral...
Former Lepers struggle to survive after crackdown | The Jakarta Post article from 09 09 2009
Leprosy sufferers face social stigma | The Jakarta Post article 01 28 2009
Plans leprosy center tangerang rejected | The Jakarta Post article 08 18 2009
{We saw FOUR Armadillos at Lunch Time!}Humans can acquire a leprosy infection from armadillos by handling them or consuming armadillo meat, and are a presumed vector and natural reservoir for the disease in Texas and Louisiana. - previous post by me
{World Leprosy Day} | previous post by me
{My 6 Min Presentation The Truth About Leprosy for GDPLI, AtAmerica U.S. EMBASSY JAKARTA} | post by me with video + Pdf link of presentation
{My 8th Blog Award - Sunshine from Japan} | previous post by me mentioning our fight for the underdog


  1. you have seen much more of the world than most of us. you were very kind to support those patients and their care. we have so much to be grateful for in this country - so much we take for granted.

    1. Dearest Theresa,
      You are so right with the last sentence; we have SO MUCH to be grateful for in this country and in the country where I am born... Most people do take it for granted and we both do have a problem with the very commercial season of 'WANT' right now. Knowing what we have seen in this world!

  2. Oh dear friend, I am very impressed with your post and so happy to see that there are people as you are and Rotarians as well, that help this poor sick people, as did Princess Diana. You too are a princess by doing this...see, you don't need to be BLUE blooded! God bless you and those people in Indonesia. Thank you for sharing it with us. My friend, you amaze me at how much you've been around in the world, wow!!! My deepest admiration,

    1. Dearest Fabby,
      Thank you dear friend. Had to share this as each Christmas season the contrasts we've lived with, do weigh very heavy on our chest. Those poor Leprosy patients are almost forgotten... they existed already in biblical times and yet the entire world rushes onward to more gadgets to more this and that... Never turning back and lending a hand to make life for those less miserable or for promoting awareness and education and do away with the terrible stigma.
      We always have done this with love and pleasure but we wish we could do more!
      Hugs to you,

  3. I have no words Mariette! How many problems and sadness there are in this World!


    1. Dearest Marina,
      The sad thing is that Leprosy already was known in Biblical times, yet till today they have been shunned and ostracized by society and even by their family... That often is worse than the disease itself. They get way too little attention and almost nothing is done for educating the people in order to break down this stigma... Princess Diana tried hard and she was Patron of The Leprosy Mission England and Wales from 1990 until her untimely death in 1997.

  4. Liebe Mariette,

    das ergreift mich.

    Alles Liebe

    1. Liebe Elisabeth,
      Ja oft fühlen wir uns schuldig wenn wir schon etwas zu meckern haben... Diese arme Menschen haben NICHTS und werden von der Gesellschaft ausgestossen;dass ist auch das allerschlimmste für sie. Nie einen Job bekommen, nie da wohnen können wo andere Menschen wohnen usw. Da gibt es auch keine Wörter! Die Prinzessin Diana war Schirmfrau der Lepra-Mission Englands und Wales von 1990 bis zu ihrem frühen Tod im Jahr 1997.
      Aber damit hörte die sehr notwendige Publizität auch auf. Und Mutter Theresa ist auch schon tod also wurde es ganz still...
      Während die Weihnachtszeit kommt so etwas immer nach oben und ich musste es einfach teilen; wenn es nur ein ganz kleines Bischen helfen wird da die Lepra Patienten an sich gar keine Stimme haben...
      Lieber Gruss,

  5. Lieve Mariette,

    Als ik nog niet wakker was dan ben ik het nu wel.....

    Foto's tot in detail van vreselijk verminkte mensen.
    De wereld is altijd al oneerlijk verdeeld geweest,en daarom is het goed dat er mensen zijn als jullie en vele andere die er alles aan doen om het voor die ander een beetje draaglijk te maken.
    Er is zóveel ellende op de wereld maar niemand van ons kan dat allemaal op zijn/haar schouders nemen,alle beetjes helpen zeg ik altijd.
    Vrees dat het altijd 'n utopie zal blijven dat alle mensen op deze aarde zonder zorgen,verdriet en pijn zullen zijn.

    En hoe andere met hun geld omgaan is niet mijn zaak,ik ben gelukkig enkel verantwoordelijk voor m'n eigen beurs.

    Fijn weekeind en lieve groet,

    1. Lieve Ger,
      Ja, het houdt ons letterlijk wakker... Het is gewoonweg níet te beschrijven hoeveel lijden er onder díe groep is en ze krijgen hélemaal geen aandacht van de pers. Wel de aids patiënten en dat is voor het grootste deel het gevolg van een bepaalde leefstijl. De melaatsen kunnen er niks aan doen. Omdat ze arm zijn en vaak geen schoeisel hebben raken huidaandoeningen geïnfekteerd en wordt het alleen maar erger. Het zou zo gemakkelijk te bestrijden zijn in de beginfase met ongeveer 40 Euro maar die hebben ze níet. Ze verschuilen zich en zo wordt het erger omdat ze ook vrézen om uitgestoten te worden wat uiteindelijk toch gebeurd natuurlijk. Maar nee hoor, je hebt echt niet foto's in detail gezien; dan hebben we nog heel wat andere beelden van èchte wonden. Die wil ik hier niet kwijt natuurlijk.
      Het is niet zozeer het dragelijk maken maar het wegnemen van dit duizende jaren oude stigma dat ze nog steeds uitgestoten worden door de samenleving. Prinses Diana bracht het tenminste nog onder de attentie van de media; tot haar dood en toen hield het op, zij was Beschermvrouwe van Lepra Missie in Engeland en Wales. Ook met de dood van Moeder Theresa verloren we een sterke advokate voor deze armste groep van 's werelds bevolking en niet enkel monetaire armoede maar vooral vanwege het feit om uitgestoten te zijn.
      Ook ik kreeg over en weer de vraag of ik dokter was, omdat ik ze aanraakte... Ze waren gewoon perplex om te ervaren dat een blanke vrouw met hun praatte en hun iets gaf (zolang we wat uit te delen hadden) en hun gewoon aanraakte. Ik vertrouwde altijd op bescherming van bovenaf. Het is erg besmettelijk d.m.v. hoesten, net als T.B.C. Oh, het deed ons altijd zo enorm zeer als we het laatste toilettasje met tandenborstel, tandpaste, kam e.d. hadden uitgedeeld... Die ógen van diegenen die nog niks hadden. Je zou willen oplossen, zó'n pijn doet dat.
      We gaven bij ons volgende bezoek ook aan iedereen een foto die we maakten; die werden ook heel erg gekoesterd.
      Ook een fijn weekend en lieve groetjes,

  6. Dear Mariette,a very interesting post and a sad story too.But in the end the good is that the Rotarians and Princess Diana(I loved her) helped those people.So sadness in the world indeed!Yes!I;m in shock seeing the pictures.Wish you a happy day my friend!Hugs!

    1. Dearest Dimi,
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read... It has been a good thing indeed that a personality like Princess Diana stepped in for bringing Leprosy to the media's attention. You are in shock seeing these pictures, believe me, the really shocking photos I not even posted here... But the disfiguring is tremendous and the pain of becoming outcast due to the stigma is even more painful.
      Hugs to you and enjoy this meaningful season of Christmas!

  7. Liebe Mariette,
    es gibt so unendlich viel Elend auf der Welt - es tut weh, diese Bilder anzusehen - und es macht froh, dass es so liebe Menschen gibt, die helfen, wo sie können - egal ob berühmt oder ganz "normale" Bürger - wir alle müssen zusammen stehen und helfen, denn jeder Mensch hat das Recht auf Gesundheit und Glück -

    ich umarme dich -

    liebe Grüße - Ruth

    1. Liebe Ruth,
      Danke für deine liebevolle Wörter und Umarmung! Jedes kleine Bischen kann schon helfen um dieses tausende von Jahren alte Stigma entlich los zu werden. Wenn die ganze Media nur mithelfen würde aber leider ist es politisch nicht korrekt.
      Eine feste Umarmung zurück und ich wünsche euch eine sehr stimmige Weihnachtszeit!
      Lieber Gruss,

  8. You never cease to amaze me Mariette. I saw the photo yesterday before reading the caption and it struck me right away as so similiar to a photo I remember of Lady Diana! Truth. Just incredible. xo

    1. Dearest Susan,
      Thanks for your visit, for a long time I'd wanted to show this but still had not enough slides scanned for doing so. But this is a perfect time... some thoughts about real GIVING and realizing how fortunate we already are!

  9. Soy incapaz de ver las imágenes ....qué duro...y qué admirable tu viaje y labor. Eres estupenda!!
    Sin pereza

    1. Dearest Leticia,
      Truth be told, the REAL images we got on our retina were very hard to deal with; they did cause me a mega headache. So overwhelming that you really want to scream to the world for attention and for help, lots of help! We all cannot imagine what it means for being outcast!

  10. Dearest Mariette,
    You having a so much help those poor patients have a problim that you felt so relieved each time with cash in your durse was nice very nice responsibility.
    I'am very sorry for it was shocking with yours on the new year's Eve. There was shocking too yours.
    There both has worn out... I'm very thank you for Both of lovery married men with wife.
    Diana princess are most of all of the country people are still remember of her.
    I think you are very much like princess Mariette's!
    I has working in my garden this morning and thinking of you...
    Hugs to your always!

    1. Dearest Michiko,
      Thank you and yes, for such shocking images on a New Year's Eve is quite emotional and we got worn out... We could not wait till the New Year would start. First of all, two nights on the plane and than with only one night sleep we went to deliver the money. Feeling relieved of course that it got there safe and we too.
      Wish we would have another Patron for the Leprosy Mission like Princess Diana used to be; the world needs some!
      It made me feel proud to read this: The Nippon Foundation: TOKYO, December 10, 2013 - Leaders of People Affected by Leprosy Request Pope Francis to Speak Out against Discrimination - http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1277043/leaders-of-people-affected-by-leprosy-request-pope-francis-to-speak-out-against-discrimination
      At least your birth country is speaking out on behalf of so many Leprosy people that have no voice! It made me very proud.
      Tight hugs to you,

  11. Oh, my dear Mariette, this is so touching!!!!!
    How brave and kind of you and your husband to care after those poor souls! I knew Princess Diana was very involved in this.
    I am sure your thoughts will still go to them during Christmas, even if you cannot visit them anymore.

    In Greece, we came to know more about leprosy, three years ago, when we had the chance to follow a greek TV series based on Victoria Hislop’s book ‘The Island’ which was filmed on the very site of Spinalonga in Crete, which was one of the last active leper colonies in Europe from 1903 to 1957.

    Many hugs!!!

    1. Dearest Marie-Anne,
      This sure is touching, we will never forget, nor give up fighting for those that have no voice.
      We would need another public personality such as Princess Diana to help in tackling the stigma...
      Almost each country had such an isolated island where they kept their lepers. Even where I'm born and raised the next street was named after an earlier colony that lived in the outskirts in the 1800s. Melatenweg is derived from melaatsen which means lepers... Sad and touching indeed!
      Yet the world seems to move on and not paying much attention to those poor souls.
      Thanks for your visit and words of insight.

  12. Dearest Mariette,
    You are indeed a true angel on earth to help these dear people suffering so. There is so much sadness and despair in this world, but we must continue to hope for a world where these things are a rare event. Our own Bill Gates of Microsoft is working very hard to erradicate disease on our planet and it is these forward thinking philanthropists and organizations, such as the wonderful Rotary Club, that will make this dream a reality. Surely this was an experience that changed your perspective on life and on how we take so many things for granted. There is so much need in this world, but we can each do our part by doing what we can, when the opportunity arises. True wealth lies in a compassionate spirit, which you have in quantity, Dear Friend. We are blessed to have people like you and your Dear Pieter to share this world with. Hugs xo Karen

    1. Dearest Karen,
      Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. It sure has changed our perspective on life and we are forever grateful for what we have and try to be content with it too. Let's hope that people slowly start understanding about this 'hidden' suffering and work toward a stigma free life for all those involved.
      Enjoy your warm special spot together; you have earned that through love and perseverance yourself.

  13. Wat een verhaal Mariette, daar word je stil van. Zo besef je ook maar weer dat we het hier zo goed hebben. Zo geweldig dat jullie je daar voor inzetten. Lieve groet,

    1. Beste Willy,
      Ja, ja je word er inderdaad stil van, dat had ik met name na het eerste bezoek het raakt je zó enorm diep. Mijn Heeroom (broer van mijn paternale Oma) leefde voor 30 jaar in Indonesië en hij kende het wel. Graag zou ik er met hem nog eens over gesproken hebben, nu ik het ook allemaal kende, gevoeld en gezien had en in zijn taal (een van zijn talen). Maar hij stierf aan malaria tijdens een congress op Manilla toen ik nog maar 18 was. Zeer zeker heeft hij mij altijd wel gevolgd en ook gesteund vanuit de hemel.

  14. Liebe Mariette, ich kann mich nur den anderen anschließen - eine berührende Schilderung und eine wirklich sinnvolle Hilfe, die ihr diesen armen, schlimm gezeichneten Menschen geboten habt! Am Bahnhof von Chennay hatte ich heuer meine erste "Begegnung" mit einer an Lepra erkrankten Bettlerin, und ich muss gestehen, dass ich einfach nur schwer betroffen und schockiert war - und vor allem damit beschäftigt, mir meinen Schock über das vollkommen entstellte Gesicht nicht ansehen zu lassen. Ich wußte zu diesem Zeitpunkt auch noch nicht 100%-ig, ob es sich wirklich um Lepra handelt - aber mein erster Gedanke (woher auch immer dieser Gedanke kam...) war "Aussatz". In der Zwischenzeit habe ich gegoogelt und weiß nun, dass Aussatz und Lepra fast gleichbedeutend sind und dass die Frau tatsächlich das sogenannte lepromatöse "Löwengesicht" hatte. Was ich bei meiner Recherche auch noch fand war folgende erschreckende Mitteilung in Wikipedia: "In Japan wurden Infizierte bis 1996 aufgrund eines Gesetzes von 1931 lebenslang in geschlossenen Anstalten mit Zwangssterilisation und Zwangsarbeit inhaftiert, auch als schon Behandlungsmöglichkeiten zur Verfügung standen." Man stelle sich vor: Diese Menschen sind schon vom Leben genug bestraft worden, und dann wurden sie auch noch von der Regierung mit Zwangsarbeit bestraft...

    Gewiss wird - bei so viel Gutem, das ihr im Leben getan habt - ein Engel bei euch am Weihnachtstisch zu Gast sein! Liebe Mariette, ich wünsche Dir und den Deinen wundervolle Festtage!

    ☻/ღ˚ •。* ♥♥ ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ . 。
    /▌*˛˚ ░ ░ٌٌٌ░ Warm hugs, ░░ ░ ˚ . ✰ •
    / \ ˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ ♥♥ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚
    Traude ♥♥♥♥

    1. Liebe Traude,
      Ja, ich habe es auch gelesen über diese isolierte Inseln wo die Ärmsten ohne Liebe oder Mitgefühl ihr Ende abwarten sollten... Fast jedes Land hatte solche Inseln und es ist erst seid Jahrzehnten dass es anerkennt wird sie seien nicht gefährlich für die Umwelt. Aber meistens leben sie aber nur vom betteln da keiner sie nimmt zur Arbeit.
      Hoffentlich kommt entlich mal Begriff für diese Leprosen.
      Es war fast zuviel um an zu sehen aber wir haben es immer mit Liebe gemacht und hoffen nur auf Mitgefühl von anderen damit auch entlich was getan wird.
      Dir und Deine Lieben auch ein sehr bedeutungsvoller Weihnachtsfest!
      Lieber Gruss,

  15. Liebe Mariette....schön das es Menschen wie sie gibt, die Gelegenheit haben vor Ort hinzugehen und direkt etwas zu geben....nicht nur Geld...was sicher sehr wichtig ist, sondern auch ein liebes Lächeln, eine streichelnde Geste, ein wärmendes Mitgefühl und Liebe zu Menschen die davon meist auch zu wenig haben.
    Menschliche Engel werden auf Erden gebraucht! Danke für deinen Einsatz!

    Wünsche dir und deinen Lieben ein schönes, friedliches Weihnachtsfest und ein sanftes hinüber gleiten ins neue Jahr.

    Liebe Grüsse

    1. Liebe Julia,
      Danke für deine liebe Wörter und ja wenn man so direkt etwas geben kann ohne Verlust was immer so verloren geht an sogenante Administrationskosten (???) dann funktioniert es auch besser. Die Menschen waren wirklich so dankbar für ein Wort und etwas persönlicher Andacht den sie sonst überhaupt nicht erfahren. Leider ist es noch immer ein Stigma und so wenige die sich dafür einsetzen um es auf zu heben!
      Auch euch wünsche ich einen sehr bedeutungsvoller und warmes, friedliches Weihnachtsfest und Neues Jahr mit guter Gesundheid!
      Lieber Gruss,

  16. Hi Mariette, I have no words that can go beyond of what I see .... only tell you that it is already commendable work that you do, and why I congratulate! I'm sure these experiences of their lives have been added more riches '​​spiritual' to their lives. It makes us to understand in depth, which is life, and its various nuances, confront us with our higher realities more! This Christmas I wish you well for your husband and your fam. May our Lord, fill their lives in good health and blessings be ayadidas in their lives! Hugs, Rose Marie

    1. Dearest Rose Marie,
      This certainly did teach us in a rather strong way that there HAS to be more than this earthly life and we both are really convinced of that. So many people would otherwise have no fair chance in this earthly life. It struck both of us how these Leprosy sufferers often still had a smile of happiness and when I asked them they replied: 'We believe in a better life after this...!' Poor souls, how do they find the strength to bear their daily burden?! We all have nothing to complain as we have far than enough of what we need. Yet during the Christmas season the commercialism pushes humanity in the western world ever further for spending, wanting and feeding the decaying disease of 'GREED'.
      May you and your dear family also have a peaceful and meaningful Christmas!

  17. Wat geweldig dat je de mensen zo helpt Mariette, je hebt een goed hart. Al de moeite die je doet om er te komen, dat is niet mis. Maar ze zullen heel blij zijn dat je geld komt brengen waar ze weer mee vooruit kunnen om de lepra te verlichten voor de arme patienten. Ik denk dat prinses Diana de reis heel wat comfortabeler heeft gemaakt destijds maar ze had het hart ook op de juiste plaats en heeft de mensen hoop gegeven net als jij. We mogen toch niet klagen in de westerse wereld over allerlei onbenullige zaken wat helaas steeds vaker gebeurt.
    Prettige dagen en hartelijke groeten, Marianne

    1. Beste Marianne,
      Ja, Princes Diana was een belangrijke publieke persoonlijkheid die véél goed heeft gedaan om de aandacht te vragen voor deze dringende problemen. Een geweldige Beschermvrouwe was zij voor Engeland en Wales voor de leprozen.
      Maar Pieter en ik hopen dat elk beetje iets kan doen om anderen te laten zien wat er gaande is in deze grote wereld die door de social media wel kleine is geworden maar ook vaak meer geïsoleerd. Ieder leeft in zijn eigen bubble...
      Ja heel terecht zei een vrouwelijke Purser van de KLM ooit: 'Wij kennen enkel nog WELVAARTSPROBLEMEN'. Dat is zó waar! Geklaag over inderdaad onbenullige zaken als je dat meer objektief bekijkt in het weleld perspektief.
      Jullie ook een hele fijne, warme en betekenisvolle Kerst en een gezond 2014!

  18. Hello Mariette, There is no complete way to deal with the enormity of the problems you have outlined. The medical conditions of these unfortunate people are bad enough, but then it is compounded with political strife. With your good heart, you have shown how this can be tacked--by personal attention, giving what money and time there is available. You have treated these people like individual human beings to be befriended, and the photos speak for themselves.

    My hat is off to you,

    1. Dearest Jim,
      Thank you and yes, maybe the ripple effect for those people, with the photos given by us to them will hold on to their rare moment of being 'human'... and treated like one and not shunned or treated like outcast.
      It certainly has made a tremendous impact on our way of thinking about true values in life and what really is important!

  19. We live a good life and forget to be thankful for it.
    We forget all the poor and sick people and complain that our money is not enough to buy everything we want.
    It is important to read posts like yours at times. It makes you think!

    1. Dearest Astrid,
      Oh, this has had such tremendous impact on our lives! We never will complain because we all live in heaven compared to those poor souls. And it is the truth that the entire world is just ignoring them; they don't exist and nobody speaks out on their behalf. It is very seldom that you find a kind hearted journalist willing to write about them... We could all pull together and do away with the stigma, that would make them at least human again.

  20. Cara Mariette,ci vorrebbero più persone come voi al mondo...le cose andrebbero meglio!
    Ma i governi,i politici..non fanno nulla? E' assurdo che i potenti non facciano qualcosa...
    Ti lascio con un abbraccio e ti ripeto che sei una persona splendida e altruista
    Cari auguri per un sereno Natale a voi...e a tutti i bisognosi!
    Con affetto e stima

    1. Carissima Anna,
      Grazie per le gentili parole. Immagino che quelli con potenti hanno la loro ricchezza e si preoccupano solo raccogliendo più, così raramente guardano al 'piccolo' popolo... Abbiamo almeno cercato di fare qualcosa per queste povere anime e Dio solo sa, ogni piccolo gesto potrebbe avere un effetto; in qualche modo e qualche giorno.
      Vi auguro un bel Natale con tutta la tua famiglia e rilassarti dopo tanto lavoro duro!

  21. Dearest Mariette
    Princess Diana did some amazing work by what she did here. To override a stigma is very powerful and she inspired me so much by what she did. I'm sure these were some of the best days of her life. And how blessed and fortunate you and Pieter were to go in and do more of that same humanitarian work. What a difference it makes in this world! I don't think it matters whether you're dealing with humans or animals... giving from your heart and soul can become addictive in lack of a better word. You want to do more because you see what a difference it makes to those poor souls on the receiving end. And you feel so frustrated when you can't do more. I have so often thought of a line from the movie "Schindlers List" if you ever saw it. It's towards the end of the movie where the Jews thanks Schindler for all the lives he saved and he breaks down weeping whilst he keeps saying; "I could have done more... I could have saved more lives." Maybe I deal with smaller souls but I constantly feel this... I wish I could have done more. You did something beautiful and significant here Mariette. Thank you for sharing this special story.

    1. Dearest Joan,
      Oh, you speak from the heart and it is all about how we treat the children, elderly and pets. "We can judge the heart of a person by the way they treat their animals." ~ unknown
      The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" ~Gandhi (1869-1948)
      From that all other morals take shape...
      You do have a HUGE and CARING heart yourself and let's hope it does have a ripple effect in life and that it will stimulate others to do the same or else, to support those that do good.
      Sending you hugs and thanks for your visit and kind words!

  22. Hola Mariette:
    Se ve en estas fotografías que eres una persona de gran corazón. Te elicito por ser así y me felicito por conocerte y ser tu amiga. Un gran abrazo desde España.

    1. Querida Enma,
      Oh, esto sólo viene natural, ambos no somos gente que puede mirar para otro lado, tenemos un fuerte impulso a hacer algo y a informar a los demás para actuar así. Tú eres un'amiga querida y muy amable.

  23. This was a very informative, enlightening and heartwrenching post. You both should be so proud of the work you were able to do over the years and the lives you were able to touch. That really is what life is all about. Giving back, making a difference. If only everyone in the world would open their eyes and see just how good they have it. If only everyone could share and live in peace? If only everyone could realize that more is not better. The world would be a better place. There's something to be said for living a simple life. Wishing you and Pieter the happiest of holidays. Tammy

    1. Dearest Tammy,
      You are the embodiment of sharing and reaching out to so many and it IS rewarding for living a simple life. Hence the title of your blog and mine...
      We can only pray that more people will open their eyes!
      You too, enjoy being together during this special holiday.
      Hugs and peace,

  24. I admire your spirit and tenacity, Mariette. I've traveled quite a bit as well, and it's not always as glamorous as people think. My hat's off to you! Merry Christmas! <3

    1. Dearest Stacy,
      Thank you so much for your touching words...
      Certainly you can speak from experience, you've lived abroad and traveled enough yourself. That makes us instantly rich inside our hearts and that will last us a lifetime but it is so hard for sharing that with the multitude... Even family often has no clue what all those feelings and emotions are about. The vast majority of people kind of suppress any emotion with giving in to the commercialism of feeding by wanting, wanting always more. That never will satisfy for long as you only want more and more.
      We feel blessed for being content with our simple life and yet we feel tremendously blessed and rich inside!
      Hugs and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
      PS As for my tenacity, Pieter often has called me a Pitbull; I seldom let go when fighting for something like this... But I will not BITE!

  25. It takes courage to do something like this dear Mariette and i respect you for it . How very nice of you to tackle this to share awareness and raise the much needed funds. You are amazing!

    1. Dearest Pallavi,
      We never felt like it would take courage but we just DID it as someone needs to step in and fight for these underdogs. They have no voice and for sure they have no smart phones either (I did not either at the time of those visits...).
      But thank you for your kind words!

  26. Dearest Mariette, This is a touching and profound post. This mission was truly our Christ operating in the flesh. This is the true spirit of Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing this mission of love for those poor souls. But you know, they are joyously elevated and whole in the eyes of our Lord.
    Sending you best wishes and our sincere affection for a Blessed Christmas.
    Love to you and Pieter,

    1. Dearest Ginger,
      Touching and profound it sure is and also I had to get this off my chest so to speak. After having been there several times, one is for life affected by it...
      What struck us most is that those people were in a way 'happy' because they belief in a life after this! One could learn a lot from them.
      You both also a Blessed Christmas and all the best.
      Hugs and love to you and Bob.

  27. Liebe Mariette,
    ich finde meinen Kommentar hier auch nicht. Seltsam! Ja, ich hatte alles gelesen und auch ein paar Zeilen geschrieben.
    Ich finde es schön, daß Du in den Spuren der unvergessenen Lady Diana wandeltest. Daran sollte sich jeder ein Beispiel nehmen. Wer nichts Gutes tut, dem wird auch das Gute nicht widerfahren oder andersherum - alles was man aus freiem und gutem Herzen gibt, kommt doppelt auf einen zurück.
    Das ist meine Devise schon seit vielen Jahren. Und da gibt es so viele Baustellen, wo man helfen kann. Sei es bei den Kindern armer Leute innerhalb der eigenen Stadt, denen man regelmäßig ein wenig Geld zukommen läßt oder daß man kostenlos Kinder armer Eltern stundenweise betreut, alte Menschen im Altersheim regelmäßig besucht oder an die Tafeln (die hier bei uns Arme mit kostenlosem Essen versorgen) - nahe vor der Haustür schon gibt es so viel Elend und Leid! Wenn jeder sich darauf besinnen würde, nicht nur an Weihnachten, sähe unsere Welt ein Stückchen besser aus!

    Wir schrieben ja schon mal über dieses Thema und auch wenn es im Ausland nicht so ankommt, so ist es doch fakt, daß hier auch schon jeder Fünfte von Armut bedroht ist!


    Es geht auch um soziale Teilhabe und Ausgrenzung, das ist bei uns in Good Old Germany besonders schlimm!

    Was Google+ betrifft - ich möchte diese totale Kontrolle nicht und werde ganz sicher nicht mehr sehr lange mit meinen Blogs online sein, besonders dann, wenn es nur noch über Google+ läuft. Meine Zeit fürs Bloggen wird immer weniger und wenn ich einmal wieder neu starte, dann mit selbstgehostetem Blog, das ist mir tausendmal lieber. Man kann das dann über einen eigenen Home-Server laufen lassen und braucht dann freilich eine eigene Domain. Wordpress finde ich außerdem komfortabler als die Blogger-Blogs.
    Noch bin ich aber hier ...

    Liebe Weihnachtsgrüße

    1. Liebe Sara,
      Ein voriger Kommentar gab es leider nicht... ist möglich etwas schief gelaufen.
      Es gibt indertat sehr vieles was ein jeder tun kann auf diese Welt, im eigenen Kreis oder für die ärmere dritte Welt.
      Du schreibst von den Fakt das in Deutschland jeder Fünfte von Armut bedroht ist. Da wird aber gemessen mit ein Einkommen von etwa EURO 20,000 pro Person! Also im Vergleich mit die dritte Welt ist das noch sehr reich. http://bit.ly/Ka03pC
      Den Link zur Lebensbedingungen, Armutsgefährdung ist wirklich noch grosszügig im Vergleich mit was wir beiden erlebt haben in vielen Ländern.
      Definitionen der Armut sind sehr unterschiedlich zwischen den Nationen. Reiche Nationen haben z. B. in der Regel großzügiger Standards der Armut als armen Nationen können.
      http://1.usa.gov/1dIesBQ - Hier werden alle Länder der Welt gelistet.
      In Deutschland wird z. B. erwähnt dass man nicht auf Ferien kann... dass kommt ja in die dritte Welt überhaupt nicht in Frage. Ihr Anliegen ist über die Grundlagen für das Überleben minus alle Luxus.
      In der westlichen Welt gibt es viel Egoismus, wie jeder Mensch Recht hat auf bestimmte persönliche Luxus. In der dritten Welt teilen oft drei Generationen miteinander was eine Person im Westen als seine minimale Mittel behauptet... Wir können über dieses endlos diskutieren, aber eins ist sicher. Das Westen ist nicht glücklicher, entsprechend der hohen Rate von Selbstmord. Und persönliches Glück ist im Allgemeinen höher in der dritten Welt, vielleicht sollten wir es mit ihren Lebensstil und Zufriedenheit mal vergleichen...
      Geniesse das letzte Wochenende vom Jahr.
      Lieber Gruss,

  28. Wow.... great article and I enjoyed reading this... On my first visit to the Sitanala Leprosy village for data and survey, I was warned by some of the resident for the possibility to be infected by them, but I just smiled to them as my 'mission' is to help them to change the public stigma they are facing. I visited their houses, talked to them. listened to their plight, and seat on their chairs... and since then, a frequent visit to the village and be friend with them. You can feel their enthusiasm for a changed and see their bright faces when fitted with the new prostheses. During the period 125 prostheses were ordered and fitted to the ex patients of the hospital that are living in the Sintanala Village located adjacent to the Sintanala Hospital. This is the work of Rotary with the motto: Service Above Self.
    Thanks Mariette... God Bless You.

    1. Dearest John,
      Thanks for taking the time to reply here. Oh, those trips to the Sitanala Leprosy village and to the hospital we made several times and we never worried about being infected. Later, much later I learned that it is highly contagious by coughing, just like Tuberculosis. But we always trusted that somebody from above would be protecting us. It has changed our lives and still, we wish we could further change the public stigma. It very seldom reaches the media in a way that it would be educational and it almost looks like the world is rushing on, busy with its own things of want without ever looking back at those left behind... It is because of people like you that call for some attention via social media, mentioning also the great work that Rotary has been doing. Thanks again.
      May God Bless You Always!


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