(to see Tansen Valley, Mission Hosp & Sunil Pics in Ppt click above link)
Does that mean a mud house with a tin roof? Jeena asked.
I don’t know, but maybe! replied Sunil
This was the last sentence they exchanged before saying bye to each other at the end of a beautiful evening in their hometown in the USA when Sunil proposed to Jeena eighteen years ago.
Sunil, a US-born young doctor from a Christian family in the USA originally from Kerala, India migrated before his birth, was in the middle of his residency in paediatrics in the USA when he met Jeena first time on the suggestion of his aunt, who saw a wise harmony emerging from the common Kerala background and traditions.
He did not take long to decide and proposed to her after a few short encounters. Jeena was a young civil engineer then, also born in the USA in a Christian family from Kerala. She was a fresh graduate from a well reputed USA university.
Immediately after proposing to her, Sunil also told her about the inner feeling he had that he might receive God`s calling sometime in future and he has to respond to that, no matter what. And the above exchange of sentences then followed.
Does that mean a mud house with a tin roof? Jeena asked ——
Jeena finally accepted his proposal with the wisdom that the calling might be for both of them together.
I recently met Sunil & Jeena when we, Interburns, visited Tansen, Nepal and provided education and consultation for the uplift of burn care unit in United Mission Hospital for a health care deprived and very poor community of Palpa District, Nepal. It was a brief visit but very insightful. I met a few noble and beautiful people glowing with the inner sense of responsibility for those in need. John family is one of them.
They told me their story on our way to a local restaurant after we had a very busy and tiring day at the hospital. The hilly path of ups and downs in Tansen was accompanied by the extremely picturesque view of a green valley on the side (see pics). Their story was a good match with this path.
My accommodation in Tansen guest house was a modest room with a non-mattress bed, a small unstable tripod table, and a wooden bar across the walls to hang clothes instead of any furniture.
The routine menu in the mess of the guest house was boiled rice with mixed vegetable stew with the occasional extravagance of Dal and only on one occasion grilled fish. The dearth of water broke my habit of the daily shower
Sunil is now a senior paediatrician in United Mission Hospital and Jeena is the Civil Engineer of this hospital. They have three beautiful kids who are receiving full-time on-line education from the USA, UK and European Union approved school for Expatriates living in remote areas. The entire family was feeling depressed those days as they were planning to leave Tansen for a valid reason. It is time for the kids to start University and proper school on the main soil USA.
The John family is serving the extremely health care deprived Nepali population in a poor but very beautiful Palpa district of Nepal for the last 11 years. The working and living conditions are as hard as can be in the developing world health care setting.
For a few young couples like Sunil & Jeena, it does not matter if it is a mud house with a tin roof as long as it is illuminated and warm with love and care and a sense of social responsibility.
Unfortunately for some, if not many, a good life means living in a cold marble house with carpeted floors and chandeliers but with the darkness of apathy, greed and fear.