For some, Christmas comes through the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten and through the cry of the anguished while for others it is a day of celebration with colors, plenty of balloons, gifts, feast day meals, etc. Renuka Minj, a 25 year old female domestic worker was on her way from Patna, Bihar to Netrahat (Jharkhand) to celebrate Christmas with her loved ones on Dec. 22, 2012. She was traveling in a bus.  Little did she know about the devastating effect on her life when she got into that bus in which the driver was drunk. Her mind and heart was all fixed on the joy of celebrating Christmas at home. She took a seat right behind the driver. Around 1:30 a.m. as the bus fell into a pit and turned upside down at Hariharganj near Aurangabad her right arm got jammed under a broken window and she could not remove it herself. No one came to help her for a long time, though the other passengers were out of the bus. She kept screaming for help and out of pain. She managed to get to her cell phone with her left hand and phoned her sister to send someone to rescue her from the bus. The bewildered and shocked sister did not know what to do.

Eventually, some policemen helped her out of the bus along with her luggage. She was taken to Patna Medical College Hospital, (PMCH). Renuska needed specialised care which was not available at PMCH.  After contacting Jackulin Jesu, SCN, at Kurji Holy Family Hospital one of the ICM sisters brought her to Holy Family on Dec. 23, 2012. In the accident, her entire earnings of Rs. 10,500 went from the bag which was with the policemen.

On Christmas eve our orthopedic doctor amputated Renuka’s right arm at 4:30 p.m. This is how Jesus came to us during this Christmas.

She had multiple injuries on her head and on her face. Each of these is being taken care one by one and she is improving fast. The hospital team of doctors, nurses, paramedics and others have been giving her compassionate care. But the memory of her accident, anxiety over her future without her right arm and various financial implications are like fresh wounds opening up for her.  These will take years to heal.  While meeting her dear ones of the family, she cannot control her tears. Her eldest brother, Anuranjan who came to visit her says, “I did not even realize that it was Christmas, for our sorrow was so deep.”

Poverty is a world of darkness where everyday is a struggle to survive. How much more for someone who was a bread winner for the family loses her right arm? However, she is a brave woman, ready to face the world even without her right arm. When one visits her in her hospital bed, she captures your attention with her glittering smile.

Written by Jackulin Jesu, SCN

Sister Jackulin works in health care where she is administrator of the hospital at Kurji Holy Family Hospital, a joint mission of the Medical Mission Sisters and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

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