He looks at first glance to be a small framed asian teenager, maybe chinese, I'm not sure. I am just leaning against the garden rail, at the front of the hospital's main entrance, knowing I dont have to try to hard to look around for the people I am meeting- there are after all, maybe 20 tall european blondes in this town of more than 330,000, today.
I am waiting for my friends to arrive from Karigari, the leprosy hospital out in the country, 40 minutes outside the city. They are taking an autorickshaw all the way here to Vellore, quite a bumpy ride, especially with 4 passengers. Thankfully, one is Candace, tiny American, but two are very tall Eurpeans, at least they are very thin as well! Then there is Jason, the "native looking" Indian (translation, totally western dude of Indian descent, from Houston, who regularly says 'yall", and who decided to sport the "native look"- ie a serious mustache- while in India this visit) I'll get to them later.
So I am waiting, and the little guy I noticed earlier on my left is waving at me, and I realize he is also shouting greetings to me, in very good english! So I wave him over and he starts talking a mile a minute- he has a strong accent I can't place, but his english is good, really good. He says "where are you from?"- USA- (later on the trip I actually started to answer 'Canada' to that question, but not for the reasons you would think!) "What are you doing here?" - Medical student- "Nurse?" - DOCTOR- "Wonderful!! Are you a Christian?" -eeeerrrrahh yeah?- "Praise the Lord!!" (have I yet mentioned that this is the kind of guy who uses silly overused words like 'wonderful' and 'praise the lord', and you actually FEEL his enthusiasm- not like a televangelist, but like a really sincerely excited child?)
In little to no time, Titi and I had exchanged emails- I hope I can find it- and I had gotten his story- another amazing person for my growing collection of worldly friends. He is a missionary- well his parents are and he helps, he is @ 21 I think. He is actually from Burma (Maynmar), not exactly a hotbed for missionaries of anykind- mostly because they throw anyone and everyone in prison, pretty much for whatever they want. You speak about peace in Burma, you go to jail. I know this. I ask Titi if it is dangerous to be a missionary in his country, he says yes, but god usually gives them a way to get away when the government sends their people. He and his parents would not be hard to find, they apparently run a seminary for over 200 students.
The father has been to Dallas! He says there are "many good christians in Dallas". Apparently he has done work with Mission Asia (forgive me if that is a little off), and I think a man named Chuck Smith- I know its a sneader but I really think that was the name
About this time, his father and uncle come over. Apparently he was waiting for someone as well. Today, they had hoped his other uncle would get a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, the cousing who was to donate a kidney was not an HLA match. So the search begins again. No transplants in Burma, so they tried China, then the US, who sent them to CMC, because the cost is so much lower and the quality is on par.
But it turns out, he has been in Vellore for three months. He and his father came 3 months ago to CMC hospital hoping to find a liver donor for his mother. Sadly, 30 days before I met him, his mother was singing her favorite hym, singing on and on, for more than a half hour in her hospital bed, and after her favorite line, about finally getting to see god in heaven, she closed her eyes and passed away with her family around her.
This family I just met is telling me all about it, I give my condolences, but they are very sure she has gone on to a better, nay the best, place. There are no tears today. More greetings and salutations, as well as a promise to email the picture I had taken of all us- another unforgettable encounter.