Last night was spent on an overnight train trip from Delhi to a town near Chhatarpur. It was quite an experience sharing a four-berth “room” with a stranger (we slept in our clothes) while curtained off from the hallway and other sleeping passengers, and using a toilet that was just a hole in the floor (while balancing on a rocking train).
This mission hospital located in central India has it all. Surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, eye care, audiology, dental services, a nursing school, palliative care, and a thriving community health and development program. Their reputation is stellar in the surrounding area, and the government is happy to collaborate with them. We met countless smiling staff members and toured their extensive but humble facilities. We saw close to a hundred people in the outpatient department patiently waiting their turn to be seen by a doctor. We experienced the electricity flickering on and off several times (imagine trying to run a hospital without consistent electricity!). We viewed tiny newborns only hours old with their happy mothers. But through it all, what comes through is Chhatapur’s love for God and their love for all people. Just like all the other EHA hospitals, they will provide care for anyone, regardless of race, religion, caste, or ability to pay. One family in the emergency department was allowed a 75 percent discount because the balance was all they could pay. It is truly humbling to see a community of people so thankful for what God has provided and so willing to cheerfully care for the least of these.