Latest Father Lamburn Audio – reliance, crime and religious differences

This latest audio from historical archive audio showcases Father Robin Lamburn talking of feeding patients and the problem of reliance, crime and punishment and religious differences he faced when setting out to help the ostracised and dependent villagers move towards self sufficiency and social inclusion.

While RLT places great value on these unique historic documents and the insight they offer into the life of the founder of Kindwitwi, Fr Robin, the personal reflections and faith that he shares do not necessarily represent the views of the Trust.   For those of you who want to hear the material please visit our special pages and see below:

Please see the transcript below for clip 5:

And then there was the problem of feeding the patients.  They had been accustomed to being given everything and doing nothing for themselves.   It was assumed that if a man or woman was found to be suffering from leprosy, then it was his or her right to be given all the necessities of life.    Time and time again, I had to argue with people who said, ‘Look at this man, Father, he is a leprosy patient.   Look at the marks on his arms.   You’ve got to feed this man and give him clothes and a hut to live in.’   But I would answer, ‘This man has no real physical disability.   True, he’s got leprosy but he’s well able to work.   Why should he not build himself a hut and cultivate ground for his own food?’   ‘But he has leprosy and therefore he is Maskini ya Mungu, a god’s pauper.  You must give him everything, it’s his right to do nothing.’

It’s not difficult (I think) for you to imagine how difficult it has been to get people to change their ideas when for a long period that sort of idea has been fully accepted by the medical and social authorities.  

But even that wasn’t the worst thing.   In this state of complete idleness, there had been moral degradation of the worst kind.   How often did patients say, ‘What does it matter what we do?   We are dead men.’   Any new woman patient was taken by any man who wanted her.

Shortly before the take-over, although I didn’t hear about this incident until long afterwards, a man carried a basket of dried fish through Kindwitwi, remember that the village is on both sides of a main road from Utete to Mohoro.   The patients seized this man, beat him up and stole his fish.   The man, not unnaturally, went straight to the police and made a complaint.   The police said, ‘If you are such a fool as to carry fish through Kindwitwi, you deserve all that you get.   We can do nothing about it.’   In extenuation, you must remember, that the police don’t want infectious patients in their lock-ups and prisons.

And so we took over this bit of service.

At first the patients were very suspicious.   We tend to think that people must see at once that Christians are morally superior to everyone else but that is just an illusion.   If you have been taught from earliest childhood to believe that there are people in the world called Christians, who are a wicked and oppressive race, they defy the commandments of god for do they not have bacon for breakfast despite the certain fact that god has forbidden all men to eat the flesh of the pig; they are liars because they have descended to the level of altering their own sacred scriptures by deleting from them the prophecies of the coming of the great prophet Mohammed; they are hypocrites for they pretend to be religious but in fact they never pray unless one of their priests is there to force them to do it.   A Christian would you trust him?   Good manners may dictate that you should treat him courteously.   Trust him?   No!