However, we had to move on. Our next destination was the Leprosarium Abinski. Our work was easy due to the kindness of both medical doctors and staff. The atmosphere was so cheerful! The patients were very happy.

The lorry transporting our aid goods from Rostov-on-Don had arrived at the leprosarium.
The leprologist in charge showed us around the facilities. It was obvious how affectionate he was with the patients. We immediately understood what was needed: Medicine and dressing material, since almost every leprosy patient had lesions on their legs. An appropriate supply of shoes and the rehabilitation of the patients was to be planned.

 

ausgeprägte Verstümmelung
Distinctive mutilation of face, arms and legs

These were the thoughts that occupied me on our way back to Rostov-on Don which lead us along huge fields of sunflowers. I looked at these big flowers gleaming in the sunshine. This was a farewell from the Caucasus and its unique countryside put me in a thoughtful mood. I could hardly believe that I was actually here and that I had the opportunity to treat leprosy patients. After spending two weeks in the Caucasus, I had found many new friends that I had to leave behind. Nevertheless, the appr. 450 leprosy patients had indeed conveyed the feeling to me that they were not alone with their problems and their suffering – which for me was a particularly touching experience. We knew that we would see each other again.  And indeed, two years later, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the leprosarium Terski, leprologists of the neighbouring leprosariums as well as medical doctors of former USSR countries met in order to manifest their willingness to fight against leprosy together.

 

My husband and I held a short welcome speech on behalf of the German Leprosy and TB Relief Association, Würzburg. The leprosy patients recognised us and said, “you took care of us so well”. In the year 1997, a big lorry carrying medicine, medical and general items had been sent to the Caucasus to provide all three leprosy centres with material. In 1999, another transport was organised from Dinslaken. Thus, many friends from the area of Dinslaken as well as myself kept our promise not to forget the leprosy patients and to provide them with help as far as we could.

2005

In 2005, the leprosarium’s 100th anniversary was celebrated. Dr Piotrowitsch, a surgeon, had just been appointed to the post of the leprosarium’s director and succeeded Dr. Boris Siemienienko. When the conference was finished, we tried to supply the leprosy patients with the most important items such as wheelchairs, bed linen, etc. However, the contact with the leprosarium Abinski has turned out to be very difficult.

2012

[en] Leprareise Juni/Juli 2012