Aid workers continue to be on alert in Pakistan amid reports of deadly Taliban attacks against foreigners helping with flood relief efforts in the country. Kumar Periasamy serves as the director for International Operations and Programs at Operation Blessing International. The following is the Singapore native's firsthand account of the situation in the Taliban-oppressed region.
Mohammed had a look of sadness on his face. Every time I asked him a question he would answer me with a sentence, without any emotions.
The flood destroyed his life savings. His four children and wife were able to grab whatever they could from their house when the water came. Now he sits at the graveyard under a tent without a job and no future. I did my best to talk to him and to his children, but Mohammad still had his stern look.
I noticed three kids under a tent. One of them was calling me, "Hey, Hey." I went over to see what they wanted.
He pointed to the camera for a picture and I took one, he was so happy that he had his other friends stand next to him for another picture. Soon he was all excited and wanted me to take more pictures with his kite and small container of water cans. I remembered that I had taken a picture of him before carrying some water. I tried to talk to him but he only smiled. I realized that he had a speech problem. Because of his disability people used him as a water boy and he was by himself in the tent. His name is Daud.
A young woman with her three-year-old son was patiently waiting to see the doctor. I was busy taking pictures when I heard a hissing sound, "Hiss, Hiss." I turned back and saw this young man calling his wife, which happened to be the same women with her three-year-old son.
He seemed to be in a hurry and with his facial expression asked her to see the doctor soon. She pushed herself and was able to get in front of the line. This brought to my mind a woman who laughed when her name was asked during a medical camp, she could not remember when the last time someone called her name. Her husband only called her 'hey, hey," or sometimes "donkey."
In a moment I will come back to these stories, but first let me tell you what happened today.
We started this morning at 9 a.m. to participate with our partner, Humedica's medical team, in a place called Charsadda. While on the road we were flagged by the police. Out came six policemen who knew exactly what to do. Each one of them had a specific task, it was so quick and they were gone. They checked the car papers, the chasse number, the trunk and took a look at the passengers.
We were stopped twice today. It seemed like a normal routine.
As we arrived at the entrance of this city, a police escort joined us on our way to the camp. With flashing lights and sirens the police took us smoothly through the heavy traffic. Once at the camp we were told that a bomb had exploded at a turn-about which we were supposed to take on our way there.
For some reason we had taken a different route. It must have been your prayers.
Charsadda was one of the worst-hit areas where the water level was up to 10 feet high. About 80 percent of the homes made out of mud and straw were completely destroyed. Many took refuge at the graveyard, which was on higher ground.
That's where we were today with the Humedica team, providing health care to men, women, and children.
Scabies, infection, and diarrhea were the main complaints of the patients. Operation Blessing's partner Humedica did a wonderful job by taking time with each patient. They talked with the them, laughed with the children, touched them with love and even dressed their severe wounds.
Why I say this is that I have seen local doctors who won't touch the people of low caste in the village. They would just prescribe medicines without checking any symptoms. But this was different; this was about caring and loving the people regardless of who they are.
It was a hot day but, regardless, the Humedica team saw more than 100 patients. There were some serious cases, which were referred to the hospital, but overall the people at the camp were so happy to have a great team take care of their needs.
Going back to the story of Mohammad who lost his life savings, to Daud who has a speech disability, and the young wife and mother who lives a harsh life. One thing that changed their attitude was a simple word of encouragement and love.
I gave Mohammed a hug and saw tears come to his eyes, I played with Daud and made him feel special, and I prayed for the young woman and her son to be well.
This is what Operation Blessing is all about, showing the love of Jesus in word, deed, and action. This is what we did today with the Humedica team.